Orlando nightclub gunman's widow will be sent to face charges in Florida

Lawyer Haitham “Sam” Amin (above, in a file photo) said his client had waived her right to a transfer hearing.
Lawyer Haitham “Sam” Amin (above, in a file photo) said his client had waived her right to a transfer hearing.PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI (REUTERS) - The widow of the gunman who killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, has agreed to return to the state from California to face federal charges, her lawyer said on Wednesday (April 5).

Noor Salman, the wife of Omar Mateen, had been due to argue in court on April 10 against the transfer. But on Tuesday she waived her right to that hearing, according to her lawyer, Haitham "Sam" Amin.

Court records showed the 30-year-old would instead return to Orlando, where she will face charges of obstructing justice and providing support to terrorism for lying to investigators about Mateen's mass shooting.

Salman will remain in custody until the US Marshals Service takes her to Florida. "We're going to continue fighting, and we are optimistic,"Amin said during a phone interview.

The date for Salman's transfer was not immediately known. A representative from the US Court for the Middle District of Florida did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Police killed Mateen, a US citizen of Afghan descent, after a three-hour shooting rampage last June at the Pulse nightclub. During the incident, he called 911 dispatchers to profess allegiance to a leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group.

Salman was arrested in February at her mother's home in the San Francisco Bay Area. Prosecutors said she knew Mateen was planning an attack and fabricated a story to cover for him.

In March, a federal judge in Orlando ordered that Salman remain in jail, revoking a bail order issued by a federal magistrate in Northern California who had initially found her to be of no danger or a serious flight risk.