The foreman of the Noor Salman jury contacted the Orlando Sentinel with a statement about what the three days of deliberations were like for the 12 people who acquitted the widow of the Pulse shooter, Omar Mateen. Jurors listened to eight days of testimony and found Salman, 31, not guilty of aiding and abetting Mateen’s providing of material support to a foreign terror organization and of obstruction of justice. The court has kept the names of jurors secret, and went as far as having them meet at a separate location away from the courthouse every day of the trial so U.S. marshals could drive them to the courthouse. The foreman asked to remain anonymous.
Below is his statement in its entirety:
“As foreperson of the jury in the Noor Salman trial I felt it important that I present a juror’s perspective of the verdicts. I am giving you my perspective, and not speaking for the entire jury. My initial inclination was not to communicate with the news media at all, however once I returned home a watched the news coverage of the reactions to the verdicts I felt compelled to at least clarify several misconceptions.
First, I want to express my deepest sympathy to family and friends of the victims of this senseless tragedy. I understand the desire to hold someone accountable for this heinous act of violence. Omar Mateen is dead. He cannot be punished. It is only logical the world would look next to Noor Salman.
These past few days have been very difficult. We listened carefully to opening arguments, testimonies from both prosecution and defense witnesses, viewed many exhibits and heard closing statements. We received many pages of documentation from the court outlining very specific instructions related to the charges and how we should apply the law. We used these detailed instructions, our courtroom notes, and all evidence presented by both sides in our deliberations.
Having said that, I want to make several things very clear. A verdict of not guilty did NOT mean that we thought Noor Salman was unaware of what Omar Mateen was planning to do. On the contrary we were convinced she did know. She may not have known what day, or what location, but she knew. However, we were not tasked with deciding if she was aware of a potential attack. The charges were aiding and abetting and obstruction of justice. I felt the both the prosecution and the defense did an excellent job presenting their case. I wish that the FBI had recorded their interviews with Ms. Salman as there were several significant inconsistencies with the written summaries of her statements. The bottom line is that, based on the letter of the law, and the detailed instructions provided by the court, we were presented with no option but to return a verdict of not guilty.”
You can read more coverage of the verdict on OrlandoSentinel.com
Omar Capo, 20, loved to dance and act. He came to Orlando to pursue a performance career. Read more about him here.(Courtesy photo)
Juan Ramon Guerrero went to the club with his boyfriend, Christopher Leinonen, who also was killed. Guerrero’s Instagram account is full of pictures of the two of them together, along with many family and friends. Read more about him here.(Juan Guerrero)
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37, who grew up in Puerto Rico, was a protector, confidant and hero, according to Daniel Gmys-Casiano, a friend for almost 20 years. Read more about him here.(Wilson-Leon’s Facebook page / Courtesy photo)
Enrique L. Rios left his home in New York to spend the weekend celebrating a friend’s birthday in Orlando. Read more about him here.(Enrique Rios Facebook page / Courtesy photo)
Like many 19-year-olds, Jason Benjamin Josaphat had many interests and was just starting to chart his path in life, according to his family — he was computer savvy, loved to work out and had an interest in photography. Read more about him here.(Josaphat family)