Orlando Nightclub Shooter’s Wife Pleads Not Guilty to Terror Charge

OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – The widow of the gunman who killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub this past June pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony charges that she helped her husband carry out the attack and hampered the criminal investigation that followed.

Noor Sahi Salman didn’t speak at the morning hearing in federal court, where she appeared disheveled in a red jumpsuit and huddled close to her attorneys following two days in custody on a no-bail hold at Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County.

Instead, public defender John Paul Reichmuth, who is serving as Salman’s attorney until one is appointed for her, entered not guilty pleas to two charges.

In an indictment unsealed Tuesday, the Justice Departmnet charged Salman with providing “material support” for two months to the Islamic State, in whose name her husband Omar Mateen carried out the June 12, 2016, attack on the Pulse Night Club in Orlando. She was also charged with lying to Florida police officers and the FBI during the investigation.

Salman faces life in prison if convicted.

Mateen killed 49 people and injured 53 others in what became the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. SWAT officers killed him following a three-hour standoff.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu ordered both parties to interview Salman immediately following the hearing to determine whether she can be released on bail.

A bail hearing was set for Feb. 1. Counsel for the parties will be named at that time.

Salman was arrested at her family home in Rodeo, a small town in the San Francisco Bay Area, on Monday. A warrant for her arrest was issued Jan. 12, according to the indictment.

Although Salman grew up in the Bay Area, she lived in Fort Pierce, Florida, with Mateen and reportedly went to Pulse with him prior to the attack.

The case will likely be transferred to the Middle District of Florida, where Orlando is located and where a grand jury indicted her.

Reichmuth told Ryu Wednesday that he did not believe Salman’s eventual attorney would contest extraditing Salman to Florida. The decision to extradite her, however, will likely be left to Charles Swift, an attorney with the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America who had applied to represent Salman, he said.

The judge granted Swift’s request to represent Salman in an order issued shortly after the hearing.

Speaking to reporters following the hearing, Swift declined to comment on extradition until he is appointed Salman’s attorney.

“After the bail hearing, then something will happen and I’ll be happy to talk to you all about it,” he said.

Salman’s uncle, Al Salman, also declined to speak with reporters following the hearing.

It was Salman’s second appearance in court since her arrest. In an initial appearance on Tuesday, Salman told Ryu that she understood the charges against her, but did not enter a plea.

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