Orlando gunman’s widow pleads not guilty to federal charges

The widow of a terrorist who killed 49 patrons of an Orlando, Fla., nightclub in June pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that she knew of her husband’s attack in advance and lied about her involvement.

During a federal court hearing in Oakland, Noor Zahi Salman, 30, entered her plea before U.S. District Judge Donna Ryu. Charles Swift, a Texas-based lawyer who directs the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America, was in the courtroom but cannot actively represent Salman until he receives court permission to practice in California.

Swift, a former naval officer, is not a member of the California bar but courts routinely give out-of-state lawyers the right to practice in such cases. A bail hearing was set for Feb. 1.

Salman, wearing a red jail jumpsuit, did not speak but turned toward her uncle in the audience and blew him a kiss.

Al Salman, the uncle, said she called him the night before and asked for clothing. “She is cold,” he said.

Omar Mateen, Salman’s husband, gunned down patrons of the Pulse nightclub in a terrorist attack and then died in a shootout with police.

Salman denied involvement and moved with her 4-year-old son to California to live with her mother in a small community about 27 miles northeast of San Francisco. FBI agents arrested her Monday.

A federal grand jury in central Florida indicted her, determining that as early as April she knowingly aided Mateen’s efforts to provide “material support or resources” to Islamic State in the Middle East. The indictment did not provide more details.

A second count accused her of obstructing justice by lying to FBI investigators and the Police Department in Fort Pierce, Fla.

maura.dolan@latimes.com

Twitter: @mauradolan

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