Federal Bureau of Investigation

Indictment Unsealed on Pulse Nightclub Gunman's Wife

A court appearance scheduled Tuesday for Noor Salman, accused of helping her husband in the months before the massacre, was delayed

The two-count federal indictment against the wife of the Orlando nightclub gunman was unsealed Tuesday morning, hours before she was set to appear in federal court for the first time. 

Salman appeared federal court in Oakland on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. PT, although the case is being prosecuted in the U.S. Central District Court in Florida. Her case was delayed until she could be assigned a federal public defender.

Her uncle defended her outside court, saying she was an innocent victim.

Federal prosecutors in Florida allege Salman was helping her husband, Omar Mateen, since at least April, months before the June 12 attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. He killed 49 people and wounded 53, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, before dying in a shootout with police.

Charging documents made public Tuesday morning show that Salman was indicted on Jan. 12, four days before her arrest on Monday. Her Florida-based attorney has denied she had advance knowledge of the mass shooting. 

NBC Bay Area obtained exclusive surveillance footage taken in the neighborhood of the moments before her arrest.

The short clip of black-and-white video shot at 7:36 a.m. Monday shows two Alameda County sheriff's deputies standing on the sidewalk as at least three men in plain clothes walk by quickly on the sidewalk.

Salman was taken into custody shortly afterward, although the video does not show that moment. A woman declined to comment through a screen door at Salman's mother's home on Monday, where she moved after the massacre.

The first count of the indictment alleges Salman "knowingly" aided and abetted her husband by providing him "material support or resources" to a designated foreign terrorist organization, ISIS. Before he was killed in a shootout, Mateen told a police hostage negotiator that he was a soldier of ISIS and that the United States had to stop its bombing in Syria and Iraq, according to police transcripts.

Salman was also charged with obstructing justice for officers in the Fort Pierce police and FBI investigation. The details of the case have been sealed.

In June, a source close to the family told NBC News that Mateen sent his wife a text message during the rampage, asking her, "Do you see what's happening?" After swapping texts, she allegedly tried to call him. The charging documents allege that Salman had been helping her husband since at least April.

But in a statement sent to NBC News, Salman's Tampa-based attorney, Linda Moreno, said in a statement that Mateen's widow had no advance knowledge of what her husband would do that night at the Florida gay club.

"Noor has told her story of abuse at his hands," Moreno said in the statement. "We believe it is misguided and wrong to prosecute her and that it dishonors the memories of the victims to punish an innocent person."

A neighbor told NBC Bay Area she was surprised that Salman had been arrested. "I thought she was not a suspect, I thought she was fine," the neighbor said.

Another neighbor, Tony Torres, said he didn't think Salman was any type of killer mastermind: "I think she was just along for the ride."

In November, Salman told the New York Times in an interview that she was "unaware of everything."

“I don’t condone what he has done," she said then. "I am very sorry for what has happened. He has hurt a lot of people.”

Since the massacre, Salman was said to have been cooperating with the FBI. It is not clear what changed. 

Salman's parents live in Rodeo, California, and the FBI has previously visited that location to interview her, NBC News reported. Rodeo is a small city, with a population of 8,600, in Contra Costa County near the San Pablo Bay, about 45 minutes from San Francisco.

Her mother’s neighbors in Rodeo have told NBC Bay Area that Salman was the daughter of Ekbal Zahi and Bassam Abdallah Salman, who died of a heart attack several years ago. Salman's mother still lives at the home with her youngest child but has not spoken out publicly about the shooting.

According to neighbors, Salman attended John Swett High School in nearby Crockett, California. Salman married Mateen, neighbors said, and moved to Florida about five years ago. She moved back to the Bay Area with her son after the massacre.

NBC Bay Area's Shawn Murphy, Pete Suratos and Chuck Coppola contributed to this report.

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