Fort Hood judge postpones ruling on trial delay for Nidal Hasan
HOUSTON -- A military judge postponed her ruling Wednesday on whether to delay the Ft. Hood shooting suspect’s trial after hearing more about his new defense strategy, saying she plans to consider the matter next week, officials said.
Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, 42, has requested a three-month delay to prepare a new defense after he succeeded in firing his military attorneys and proceeded to represent himself this week.
His new strategy, “defense of others,” is based on his contention that the 2009 shootings were necessary to protect others from imminent harm. Hasan said in court this week that he was defending Taliban leaders in Afghanistan when he attacked U.S. troops about to deploy there from the Texas Army base.
Hasan, an Army psychiatrist who was working at the facility he allegedly attacked, is charged with premeditated murder and attempted premeditated murder in connection with the shooting that killed 13 and wounded 32. The American-born Muslim allegedly shouted “God is great” in Arabic during the attack. If convicted, he could be sentenced to death.
Hasan has attempted to plead guilty, but military judges have refused to allow him to do so because it’s a capital case.
Military judge Col. Tara Abbey Osborn gave Hasan until next week to file paperwork documenting his defense, Ft. Hood spokesmen said in a statement Wednesday.
“Hasan indicated that he currently has insufficient access to legal research material and the use of the Internet. He stated he was concerned that too many trees would be killed in the printing of research materials, and repeated his request for Internet access,” the statement said.
Osborn denied Hasan’s request. She had said he could use the Internet only via his former military attorneys and paralegals, whom she ordered to assist him as “standby counsel” as he defends himself.
Jury selection has already been delayed a week, and it was unclear how soon it could begin. Prospective jurors flown in this week were sent home Wednesday, according to the statement. Osborn scheduled the next hearing for Tuesday.
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