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Judge Rules Orlando Shooter's Widow Can Be Released On Bond

Investigators work at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., following a mass shooting in June 2016. A California judge has ruled that Noor Salman, the widow of the gunman, Omar Mateen, can be released pending her trial on charges of aiding her husband's attack.

A federal magistrate judge in California ruled Wednesday that Noor Salman, the widow of Omar Mateen, can be released on a $500,000 bond pending her trial on charges that she helped her husband plan the deadly mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub in June 2016.

Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu cast doubt on the claims by federal prosecutors that the 31-year-old Salman is a flight risk or danger to public safety. But the judge in Oakland, Calif., put her bond ruling on hold giving the government 48 hours to appeal.

Ryu said it was "debatable" whether the prosecutors have evidence to support their charges that Salman aided and abetted her husband's attack in which 49 people were killed and 53 were injured at the Pulse nightclub. She is formally accused of helping Mateen provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Salman is also charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly lying to investigators. She faces a life sentence if convicted on those charges.

Salman has pleaded not guilty. Mateen was shot and killed by police during his shooting rampage.

Salman was apprehended in January at her family's home in the bedroom community of Rodeo about 20 minutes north of Oakland.

Prosecutors have argued that Salman admitted to investigators that she helped her husband case the Pulse nightclub and had driven him to the site sometime before the attack.

Her attorney has said that Salman was a victim of domestic abuse by Mateen and has diminished mental capacity. Ryu has ordered a psychiatric evaluation. Salman's trial has not been scheduled.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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