Prosecutors in the federal case against Orlando shooter Omar Mateen's widow succeeded Thursday in keeping her behind bars for now, filing a motion in federal court in Florida against releasing her on bail. A U.S. magistrate in Oakland ruled Wednesday that Noor Salman was neither a flight risk nor a danger to the public, and set bail for her at $500,000 pending her trial in Florida. But on Thursday, a federal judge in Florida ruled in favor of halting Salman's release as prosecutors there argued that in cases of terrorism, the standard for allowing bail should be far higher.
As the Orlando Sentinel reports, the Florida filing describes Salman as a "cold person" who cared less about her husband's victims than about gaining access to his bank accounts in the aftermath of last June's mass shooting.
Also, prosecutors argued against the decision that Salman was not a flight risk, arguing that she did already flee, moving across the country to California in the months after the shooting. Also, they say, she owns an empty apartment in Palestine and other family members also own property there.
Previously on Wednesday, U.S. magistrate Donna Ryu had called the case against Salman "debatable," and said there was no evidence that she had any ties to Islamic terrorism or shared her husband's extremist views. But we also learned that the couple had gone on a spending spree in the days before Mateen killed 49 people and then himself, including the purchase of an $8,000 diamond ring, and they had made Salman the beneficiary of her husband's bank account.
Per the Associated Press, prosecutors said in their motion that in cases of terrorism, they need only an indictment to hold a suspect without bail. "Here, the defendant proffered evidence of her husband’s alleged abuse, the affidavits of friends and family, and her lack of overall danger in support of an argument that she does not constitute a flight risk or danger to the community,” the prosecutors said in their filing. “Such proffered evidence falls far short of justifying a finding in favor of release, particularly in light of the nature of the charged offense."
U.S. District Judge Paul Byron agreed to stay the bail decision, and Salman's attorneys now have until next Wednesday to appeal. Otherwise, she was expected to be released today on what Ryu called "essentially house arrest."
Salman's attorney told the AP that this is all just a "rehash" of what's already been argued in the Oakland courtroom, and continued to defend the idea that the prosecution's case was "more than debatable, it's groundless."