March 30, 2018 / 10:21 AM / 4 months ago

Jury set to resume deliberations in trial of Orlando gunman's widow

ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - Jurors were scheduled to resume their deliberations on Friday in the trial of a Florida woman on charges that she did nothing to stop her husband from opening fire at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub in 2016, killing dozens of people.

File Photo: Investigators work the scene following a mass shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando Florida, U.S. June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

On Thursday the panel ended a second day behind closed doors at U.S. District Court in Orlando without reaching a verdict in the trial of Noor Salman, 31, the widow of gunman Omar Mateen.

The jury has spent about 11 hours deliberating since getting the case on Wednesday.

Salman could face up to life in prison if convicted on federal charges of obstruction of justice and aiding Mateen in providing support to the Islamic State militant group.

Mateen, who had claimed allegiance to an Islamic State leader, died in an exchange of gunfire with police at Pulse, a gay nightspot

So far the jurors have given no indication that they are close to reaching a verdict. On Thursday, the panel asked the trial judge to provide an example of an act of aiding and abetting. U.S. District Judge Paul Byron declined.

In response to another question, Byron said in order for Salman’s actions to be considered “willful,” it had to be proven that she provided support for and participated in something she wished would succeed.

Salman’s family was hopeful the jurors’ questions suggested they were carefully weighing the evidence, her spokeswoman Susan Clary said.

“The jury has been asking questions, that shows that they want to know more about the law,” Clary told reporters outside the courthouse. “More questions is better than no questions.”

Defense lawyers have accused FBI agents of adding words that they say Salman never used to her statements, made during questioning, that she helped Mateen scout targets.

Prosecutors say Salman helped her husband check out potential sites ahead of the June 12, 2016, attack and misled investigators about what she knew.

They said she first told investigators that Mateen had acted without her knowledge but later admitted knowing he had left home with a gun and had watched jihadist videos online.

Reporting by Joey Roulette in Orlando; Writing by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Leslie Adler

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