Widow of Pulse nightclub gunman cleared of all charges

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Widow of Pulse nightclub gunman cleared of all charges

ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) – Noor Salman, the widow of Pulse nightclub gunman Omar Mateen, was acquitted on Friday of federal charges that she tried to obstruct investigators and aided her husband in the attack that killed 49 people in 2016.

FILE PHOTO – Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials walk through the parking lot of the Pulse gay night club, the site of a mass shooting days earlier, in Orlando, Florida, U.S., June 15, 2016. REUTERS/Adrees Latif/File Photo

The jury in U.S. District Court cleared Salman of two counts after roughly 12 hours of deliberation since Wednesday.

Salman, 31, could have faced up to life in prison had she been convicted of federal charges of obstruction of justice and aiding Mateen in providing support to the Islamic State militant group.

Mateen, who had claimed allegiance to an Islamic State leader, died in an exchange of gunfire with police at Pulse, a gay nightspot.

The acquittal is likely to be an emotional blow for the survivors and families of those killed at Pulse.

At the time of the massacre on June 12, 2016, it was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. It has since been surpassed by the Las Vegas attack in which a shooter opened fire on an outdoor concert from his hotel room last year, killing 58.

Reporting by Joey Roulette in Orlando; Editing by Daniel Trotta, Bill Rigby and David Gregorio

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