The wife of Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen says he was a serial cheater who slept with prostitutes and women off dating sights like Plenty of Fish.
The revelation was made in court documents filed Monday by Noor Salman’s defense team.
Salman has been accused of aiding and abetting her husband, who killed 49 people at Orlando, Florida’s Pulse nightclub in June 2016 before he was shot dead by responding officers.
After the shooting, Salman was found at the couple’s home in Fort Pierce, Florida, and was subsequently interviewed for 18 hours.
Prosecutors say Salman lied to investigators, telling them her husband was out with a friend named Nemo the night of the shooting.
Lawyers for Noor Salman (left) revealed in court papers on Monday that her husband, Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen (right), was a serial philanderer
Mateen killed 49 people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando in June 2016, in the name of the Islamic State. He was shot dead by responding officers
But her defense team says that this was in fact what her husband had told her, and that it was a lie he routinely used to engage in other illicit behavior.
Salman’s lawyers cite an interview the friend name Nemo gave to FBI agents after the attack, in which he copped to acting as a front for Salman’s affairs.
‘He used to make excuses to his family that, ‘I’m going to a certain place -‘ or, to his wife, that, ‘I’m going to a certain place, and I’m going to go see Nemo.’ But in fact, he would go somewhere else… So he, would make excuses of coming to visit me, but he ended up going to other places. You know what I mean?
‘And this is a statement he made to me, because he had a bad habit of – he was married, he was married, but he went behind his wife’s back and did a lot of stuff on the side of whatever website…Plenty of Fish or wherever it was. Arablounge. He even mentioned Craigslist to me. Hooking up with women. Hooking up with older women,’ Nemo said.
FBI agents reportedly interviewed 10 women who had met Mateen online, including four he met in person, Salman’s lawyers revealed.
Prosecutors said Salman lied to officers about her husband’s whereabouts after the shooting, saying that she thought he was with a friend named Nemo
Of those four women, Mateen ‘succeeded in cultivating a romantic relationship’ with one of them from June 2015 to March 2016.
‘In addition to Mateen’s attempt to establish secret sexual relationships, documentary evidence establishes that Mateen regularly contacted escorts seeking sexual services during his marriage to Ms. Salman,’ her lawyers say.
They say that the evidence about his serial affairs should be added to evidence to prove that Salman was not lying when she told officers that she thought her husband was with Nemo the night of the attack.
‘The evidence is relevant to rebut the Government’s allegation that Ms. Salman aided and abetted Mateen’s attack by fabricating a cover story for Mateen that he was going to see Nemo on the night of the attack and later lied to law enforcement by telling them that Mateen had told her that he was going out with Nemo,’ the court filing reads.
Her defense team also want her text messages with Mateen the morning of the shooting to be added to evidence, as they say they show she was ignorant about what he was up to.
Salman’s lawyers say she didn’t knowingly lie. They say Mateen regularly lied to his wife and said he was hanging out with a friend named Nemo when he was in fact having affairs with women (the couple pictured above)
At 2:42am, about 40 minutes into the shooting, Salman texted her husband ‘Habibi [Arabic for “my love”] where are you?’
He never responded, so she followed up around 4:30am, after getting a worried call from her mother-in-law, who said she had asked Mateen to come over but he never showed up.
Their conversation played out as follows
4:27am – Salman: Where are you?
4:27am – Mateen: Everything ok?
4:27am – Salman: Your mom I’d [sic] worried and so am I
4:28am – Salman: You know you work tomorrow right?
4:28am – Mateen: You heard what happened
4:28am – Salman: ????
4:29am – Mateen: I love you babe
4:29am – Salman: Habibi what happened?!
4:31am – Salman: Your mom said that she said to come over and you never did
Mateen never responded. He died around 5:17am, after SWAT teams burst into the club and shot him dead.
Salman was arrested in January and charged with aiding and abetting her husband
The court filing also asked that certain items be removed from evidence, such as Salman’s spending before the attack, audio and video from the attack, and descriptions of the ‘Muslim’ grab she was wearing when she was interviewed by police after the massacre.
FALSE STATEMENTS PROSECUTORS SAY SALMAN MADE TO INVESTIGATORS
- Stating to officers of the Fort Pierce Police Department that her husband, Omar Mateen, would not have engaged in violence unless he was protecting himself.
- Stating to special agents of the FBI that Mateen left their apartment on June 11, 2016, to have dinner with a friend.
- Stating to FBI special agents that Mateen had only one firearm.
- Stating to FBI special agents that Mateen was not radical or extreme in his beliefs.
- Stating to FBI special agents that she did not see Mateen with a gun when he left their residence.
- Stating to FBI special agents that Mateen did not access the internet at their residence and had deleted his Facebook account a long time ago.
- Stating to FBI special agents that she was unaware that Mateen was planning to conduct a violent terrorist attack.
The basis of the prosecution’s case seems to rely on evidence that Salman allegedly knew her husband was planning something.
Prosecutors say a week before the shooting, Mateen asked his wife ‘How bad would it be if a club got attacked?’
Two days later, they say he asked her the same thing again after taking their young son to Disney.
‘What would make people more upset — an attack on downtown Disney or a club?’ he allegedly said.
The indictment also said Salman knew her husband watched ISIS videos, went with him to buy ammunition before the attack and drove him to Orlando where he allegedly cased his target.
It was previously reported that prosecutors had evidence Salman deleted a text message to her husband ‘informing him of the cover story she had devised’.
The defense has refuted these claims, continuing to maintain that she was not only ignorant, but the victim of an abusive husband.
In her only interview with a news outlet, Salman told the New York Times a few months after the attack that she had no idea what her husband was planning.
‘I was unaware of everything,’ she said. ‘I don’t condone what he has done. I am very sorry for what has happened. He has hurt a lot of people.’
Salman, who grew up in California, the daughter of Arab immigrants for the West Bank, met Mateen on the Muslim dating site Arab Lounge and the two married in 2011. They had one son together, who is about five years old now.
Salman says her husband got physically abusive about six months into their marriage – punching her, pulling her hair and threatening to kill her. (Mateen was married once before, but his wife left him after he started beating her.)
Experts have said that Salman was likely too busy trying to evade her husband’s rages to have picked up on his radicalization.
Salman was arrested on charges of aiding and abetting in January, and was taken into custody at her parent’s home in California, where she had relocated.
She has pleaded not guilty to the charges. The trial is set to start in March.