Noor Zahi Salman, the 30-year-old widow of Orlando mass murderer Omar Mateen, made her second appearance in federal court in Oakland Wednesday, which served as her arraignment. Salman pleaded not guilty to charges that she both lied to FBI investigators last June about what she knew prior to the June 12, 2016 massacre at Pulse nightclub, and that she knowingly aided and abetted Mateen in his "attempted provision and provision of ‘material support or resources’ for a terrorist organization." As the local CBS affiliate KPIX reports, Salman appeared in a red jail jumpsuit, having changed from the sweatpant pajamas in which she was arrested on Monday, and which she wore to court on Tuesday.
Salman will now remain behind bars at Santa Rita jail in Dublin, California awaiting a bail hearing on February 1 and a decision about her possible extradition to Florida, where federal prosecutors would like to see her tried.
Salman is currently being represented by San Francisco attorney Sam Amin, who says he has not yet met with his client. Former JAG attorney Charles Swift, currently the director of the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America, came from Texas to represent Salman in the Oakland hearings, as he did during the investigation, but he is not yet approved to represent her in California. As NBC News reports, Swift is a retired lieutenant commander in the Navy who is best known for representing Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni detainee who admitted to being Osama bin Laden's personal driver, who was in US custody from 2001 onward and faced one of the first military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay. Swift took the case to the Supreme Court, which ruled against the Bush Administration in 2006, and Swift subsequently was forced to retire from the military.
Swift sat in on Salman's hearing today, as well as an interview for her upcoming bail hearing, according to KPIX.
Salman's uncle, Al Salman, returned to appear in court as he did on Tuesday, and Salman reportedly blew him a kiss on her way out. He came with a backpack of clothing for her, but it's unclear if he was ever allowed to get it to her.
Federal prosecutors believe they have evidence to prove that Salman knew about her husband's deadly plans and did nothing to prevent them or to warn authorities, contributing to the deaths of 49 people. It is known that they were in touch via phone and text message in the hours after the killings, while Mateen was still alive and barricaded inside the club.
For the last several months, Salman has reportedly been living in the home she grew up in in Rodeo, California, across the Bay from San Francisco, along with her four-year-old son, caring for her ailing mother. She was arrested there early Monday morning.
Salman said in a November interview with the New York Times that she was "unaware of everything," and her attorneys are expected to argue that she was the victim of domestic abuse, and despite having driven Mateen to the nightclub to case it, and driven with him to purchase ammunition, she was kept ignorant of his plans.
The case has some similarities to the friend of Charleston church shooter Dylan Roof, Joey Meek, who was charged in September 2015 for his involvement in the crime, because he both knew about Roof's plans ahead of time and lied to authorities in the aftermath.
Meek pleaded guilty last spring, and could ultimately face up to eight years in prison.