Orlando Nightclub Shooting and Providing Material Support to a Terrorist Organization

The tragic loss of life last summer may have occurred because the shooter’s wife did not speak up. However, the prosecution’s case may not be as strong as once believed. The Orlando nightclub shooter’s widow was recently released from jail on the basis that she has been deemed a non-threat to the safety of the public and is not a flight risk, according to Newsweek. The strength of the prosecution’s case is under speculation after her release. The widow was arrested in California at the beginning of 2017, and faces federal charges of obstruction of justice and providing material evidence to support a foreign terrorist organization. While she awaits trial she is ordered to live in the home of a relative and is only allowed to leave for medical and court appointments.

The Penalties: Up to 20 Years in Prison, or Up to Life in Prison if a Death Occurs Due to Support Given

Forty-nine victims lost their lives due to the gunman’s rampage last June in 2016. His wife, who awaits trial, is charged with obstruction of justice on allegations that she gave her husband a cover story when she knew of his plans to carry out the hate crime massacre on the night-club-goers. Furthermore, she faces federal charges for aiding her husband in his attempts to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. According to federal 18 U.S. Code § 2339B, a person commits said crime by knowingly providing, or attempting to provide, material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization. Providing material support includes training, expert advice or assistance, and personnel, among other forms of support. The penalties for committing this crime are harsh: a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years. However, if a death occurs because of the information or resources provided, the penalty can be increased to life in prison.

What Are the Defenses to Providing Material Support to a Terrorist Organization?

Proving that a person was knowingly providing support to an organization can be a complex task for the prosecution. That the defendant knew what they were doing is paramount to the prosecution’s objectives. Furthermore, in order to be sentenced for providing support to a terrorist organization, the defendant must have knowledge that:

  • The organization was a designated terrorist organization;
  • The organization engages in terrorist activity (as defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act); or
  • The organization engages in terrorism (as defined by the Foreign Relations Authorization Act).

Reach Out to An Experienced West Palm Beach Attorney Today

Because your freedom is entirely dependent on the experience and knowledge of your defense team alone, it is imperative that you go with a trusted firm that has the ability to defend all types of federal offenses. We encourage you to call one of our federal crimes defense attorneys today to discuss what we can offer you. Our consultations are free and we can be reached today at  (561) 820-1508. The attorneys of the West Palm Beach law offices of the Skier Law Firm are here to assist you in every way that we can.

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