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Orlando mass shooter's wife could face charges

Omar Mateen (CNN) Omar Mateen (CNN)

The investigation into the Orlando terror attacks apparently has broadened to the dead shooter’s wife.

FOX News reports an FBI source has said federal prosecutors have convened a grand jury against Noor Salman, Omar Mateen’s second wife and are seeking to charge her as an accessory to 49 counts of murder and 53 counts of attempted murder for failure to alert authorities about her husband’s plans.
“Of course, they're looking at her and she may have known certain things about what he was doing, but to make the leap that she knew that he was going to commit a crime, or that she helped facilitate the crime that's a pretty big leap,” said FOX 8 Legal Analyst Joe Raspanti.

Salman reportedly had advanced knowledge of the attack on the Florida nightclub and reportedly tried to dissuade her husband.

Raspanti has handled cases where a husband, or a wife has not been forthcoming with information.

“It's called a spousal privilege and I have had cases like that, but I just don't think that that applies in this particular case because she's not protecting something that he did as much as it's about what she did, I think it;s about her particular actions,” he said.

Still anyone who believes someone is about to commit a crime has an obligation to report it.

“I think you have an obligation, but by the same token it would be a very tough prosecution to prove was her state of mind, and what did she know and when did she know it to convict her as an accessory to this crime or a member of a conspiracy to this crime, so yes, but it's a tough prosecution,” added Raspanti.

"He started abusing me physically, very often,” said Sitora Yusufiy, Mateen's first wife.

We have no information that Mateen abused his current wife, but if he had domestic abuse experts said that could have influenced her decision-making.

"She may have been fearful to say, no, I'm not going to take you there, or I'm going to report this,” said Darlene Santana, of the Metropolitan Center for Women and Children.

She said abusers tend to exert tremendous power over their victims.

"I don't know what went on behind closed doors, however, if it's proven that there was abuse in the house then, yes, she's a victim/survivor, we like to refer to our clients as survivors,” Santana added.

She was asked what would be her agency’s response should an abuse victim contact them with foreknowledge of an attack. Santana said they would first get the person to a safe place.

"My advice would be to get them here, talk with them, provide them with the resources that they need and strongly, and highly encourage them to cooperate with law enforcement if we know that there is an imminent threat to somebody getting harmed we're obligated to work with law enforcement,” she said.

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