A federal judge in California agreed Wednesday to release the widow of Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen, saying it’s “debatable” that she helped him carry out the attack.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu said Noor Salman, 31, isn’t a flight risk or a danger to the public, noting there isn’t any evidence to suggest she has connections to the Islamic State, according to a review of the case filings.
Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS during his June 12 attack at a gay nightclub where he killed 49 people and injured dozens more. Salman was arrested and charged in January with obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting by providing material support to a terror organization. Prosecutors allege she had knowledge of her husband’s plans, and lied to authorities about it. Salman has pleaded not guilty.
Judge Ryu said she would wait a couple days to release Salman so prosecutors can appeal. Salman’s lawyers say the judge’s decision to release her while she awaits trial shows that the government has a weak case.
Salman was arrested in California, where she’d been living with her young son. If released, she would have to live with her uncle and wear an ankle monitor.
Judge Ryu has said a trial would happen in Florida. A date for the trial hasn’t been set.
If convicted, Salman faces up to life in prison.