Pulse Muslim terrorist Omar Mateen originally wanted to shoot up the heavily populated Disney Springs complex in Orlando with a rifle hidden in a stroller. But he became nervous by cops around him, so he headed to the gay nightclub on June 12, 2016, where he murdered 49 people.
Prosecutors made the revelation during closing arguments in the federal case against Mateen’s widow, Noor Salman.
A second-generation American, Salman was born into a well-to-do so-called Palestinian family who emigrated to California from Ramallah in the 1970s. Salman knew that his husband was planning a mass shooting, went on location scouting trips, accompanied her husband to buy ammunition and never warned authorities.
“The target of that terrorist attack was not the Pulse nightclub,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Sweeney told the jury Wednesday morning. “The target of the attack was Disney.”
Mateen’s initial plot was to sneak the rifle into the shopping and dining resort in an infant’s carriage with a baby doll inside, Sweeney said in comments carried by the Orlando Sentinel.
Mateen, who had pledged allegiance to ISIS, was shot and eliminated in a firefight with cops at Pulse after the shooting attack.
A search of Mateen’s car turned up the stroller and the doll, the prosecutor added, both of which he bought at a Walmart the day before the terror attack.
Jurors, who are expected to begin deliberating on Salman’s fate Wednesday, saw photos of those items during the closing arguments.
Salman is charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization and obstruction. She faces life in prison if she’s convicted.
The 31-year-old Muslim widow of the terrorist is accused of helping her husband scout locations to murder in the name of ISIS, then covering for him to his parents and investigators after the terror attack.
Surveillance footage played in court Wednesday showed the Muslim terrorist strolling by the House of Blues.
The ISIS terrorist got scared at Disney Springs by a heavy presence of Orange County sheriff’s deputies, prosecutors said.
“He had to choose a new target,” Sweeney said.
Salman wasn’t aware her husband switched his plans, but the prosecutor argued that wasn’t important to proving she still helped him plan.
“She doesn’t have to know that his initial target didn’t work out,” she told the jurors.
Last week, the jury saw footage of Mateen, Salman and their son at Disney Springs less than a month before the massacre, buying the toddler a toy.
The government has accused the Jihadi wife of giving false statements about the number of guns he owned, his social media activity and internet use at home.
She’s also been accused of telling Mateen to say he was out with his friend, should his parents ask about his whereabouts.
Her lawyers are expected to speak later Wednesday, and have presented Salman as a ‘tortured wife’ whose husband told her ‘very few things’.