The father of slain Pulse nightclub gunman Omar Mateen, the man who killed 49 people and injured 53 others during a 2016 rampage in Orlando, was a confidential FBI informant for over a decade, it was revealed over the weekend.
Additionally, Seddique Mateen made money transfers to Turkey and Afghanistan and was seeking to raise up to $100,000 to contribute to an attack against the Pakistani government. Mateen is currently the focus of an FBI investigation into those matters.
The revelations came by way of an email sent by prosecutors to the defense attorneys of Noor Salman, Omar Mateen’s widow. Salman is accused of aiding her husband in the attack and could face life in prison if found guilty.
In a motion to dismiss the charges filed Sunday, the widow’s lawyers argued that the state’s belated disclosure of these facts — the email was sent Saturday after prosecutors had already rested their case — prevented them from providing Salman a proper defense.
That motion, which argued the new information shows the elder Mateen might have been coordinating with his son on the attack, was denied Monday on the grounds that Salman’s lawyers were not harmed by the state’s failure to disclose the details earlier.
Further, the judge said that even if it were true that the killer had help from his father, this fact wouldn’t negate the possibility that Noor Salman was an accomplice, as well. Salman’s attorneys began their defense following the ruling.
In the failed motion, the widow’s lawyers argued:
“The evidence withheld by the Government establishes that Seddique Mateen was working for the Government as an informant for an eleven-year period from 2005 to June 2016. Thus, he was working with the Government until the time of the Pulse attack.”
The defense team also noted that the new information shows Seddique “may have been involved in the promotion of violent activities during the time he was working with the FBI.”
“Against this backdrop, the Government’s conduct has had a significant impact on Ms. Salman’s defense. If the Government had provided this information, the Defense would have investigated whether a tie existed between Seddique Mateen and his son, specifically whether Mateen’s father was involved in or had foreknowledge of the Pulse attack.”
The motion also pointed out that “Omar Mateen was searching plane tickets to Turkey prior to his attack on his Pulse.” This didn’t seem like much to the defense team before, but now:
“The fact the Seddique was sending money to Turkey and Afghanistan indicates the possibility that Omar Mateen was planning to travel to either of those countries to join forces with a terroristic organization.”
Additionally, the team alleged that the FBI’s decision not to give Salman a polygraph test “was based on the FBI’s desire to implicate Noor Salman, rather than Seddique Mateen in order to avoid scrutiny of its own ineptitude with the latter.”
In other words, the attorneys claim the FBI focused their investigation on Mateen’s widow in a bid to hide the fact that one of their own informants may have had a hand in the Pulse nightclub massacre.