Noor Salman’s ‘signed confession’ makes defense difficult, legal experts say
Noor Salman confessed to knowing her husband’s plans to open fire on a gay nightclub in Orlando, according to a 12-page statement in her own words that was written down by an FBI agent on June 12, 2016.
The alleged confession happened hours after her husband, Omar Mateen, killed 49 people and injured 53 others in a mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in south downtown Orlando.
Salman’s federal trial, for aiding and abetting a terrorist and obstruction of justice, begins next week. Federal prosecutors allege that she lied and confessed to lying.
“I’m very sorry I lied to the FBI. These are my words,” Salman wrote at the end of the 12-page document. “I am sorry for what happened. I wish I’d go back and tell his family and the police what he was going to do.”
The handwritten document is filled with statements that federal prosecutors say prove she knew her husband was planning the attack. Read the full confession document, obtained by WKMG, below:
Just more than a week before the shooting, Salman, Mateen and their young son went to Downtown Disney, now Disney Springs.
“While there, he left me and my son for 20 minutes, but I don’t know what he was doing,” Salman said to the FBI. “When we were leaving, Omar said, ‘What would make people more upset? An attack on Downtown Disney or a club?'”
Prosecutors allege, she even knew where and when the attack was going to happen.
“We drove around the Pulse nightclub for about 20 minutes with all the windows of the car down,” she said to the FBI. “Omar was driving slowly, looking around and at one point stated ‘How upset are people going to be when it gets attacked?'”
On the night before the attack, Salman told FBI agents, Mateen was looking at the Pulse website.
“Omar was looking at website for the Pulse nightclub and when I saw what he was looking at, he said ‘This is my target.’ I knew that the time to attack the club was close,” Salman said.
Before Mateen left their south Florida home, Salman said he asked her if he looked “Spanish” and said, “This is the one day.”
“I knew when he left the house he was going to Orlando to attack the Pulse nightclub,” she said.
Mateen opened fire on Latin night at the club while people were dancing to music.
After those statements written down on her behalf, Salman took the pen in her own hands and at the end of the confession wrote that she was sorry and signed her name.
“I do really think that’s the ballgame,” News 6 legal expert Jason Johnson said. “They will have plenty of evidence to sink her in this case, but I think with her signed confession it’s going to be a short trial.”
In December, Salman’s attorneys tried to convince a judge that the statements she made to investigators on June 12, 2016, were obtained unlawfully. Federal prosecutors said authorities were not required to read Salman her Miranda rights because she was not officially in custody or detained, meaning she was free to go if she chose to do so.
In a January pre-trial hearing, News 6 learned the defense is going back to that argument by bringing in Dr. Bruce Frumkin to testify on Salman’s behalf. According to his website, he’s a Miami-based forensic psychologist who specializes in false confessions.
Salman has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, she could face life in prison.