Miami (AFP) – Jury selection began Thursday in the trial of the widow of the Orlando Pulse shooter, nearly two years after the slaughter at the gay Florida nightclub that left 49 dead and scores wounded.
Gunman Omar Mateen’s widow, 31 year-old Noor Salman, faces charges of aiding her husband and lying to investigators. If found guilty she could be sent to prison for life.
On June 12, 2016, Mateen opened fire inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people and wounding at least 68 others.
Mateen, who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) jihadist network in a 911 call during the attack, was killed in a shootout when police stormed the building. He was 29.
The extremist group later identified him as one of its militants.
On Thursday, District Judge Paul Byron told the possible jury members that the trial could last up to six weeks, and that testimony in the trial could begin in seven to 10 days, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Byron asked potential jurors if they could remain impartial despite memories of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States, and the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead.
Salman’s defense argues that a confession stating that she knew about her husband’s plans came under duress after a 16-hour long police interrogation.
The defense attorneys will also argue that Mateen was a violent wife beater, and that Salman was afraid of contradicting him or speaking her mind behind his back.
Salman was arrested in January 2017 in northern California, where she has family.
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