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Morning report: Aug. 19

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Posted: Monday, August 19, 2013 7:15 am

It is day 10 of the military trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan, the accused Fort Hood shooter.

At stake today is whether the prosecution will be allowed to put on evidence they say shows Hasan's gradual movement from a personal religious conflict with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to Islamic extremism they say fueled his desire to attack soldiers. I discuss much of the evidence government prosecutors hope to present in this article, which also spotlights a letter Hasan sent to the Herald explaining his motives in the attack. "I was defending my religion," he stated plainly.

The presiding judge, Col. Tara Osborn, has been hesitant to admit the evidence. Some of it is somewhat tangential and comes from years before the shooting occurred. The task before the court will be to determine if the evidence has a greater potential to prejudice the jury against Hasan than its value as evidence of premeditation. Items they hope to present include presentations from his residency at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences that at best were academic surveys of how military action affects Muslims and at worst were early warning signs of Hasan's growing extremism.

If Osborn allows it, the prosecution will call about 25 more witnesses If not, they will only call about 15. Osborn should make a ruling at the beginning of today's hearing. To find out what she rules, follow me on Twitter @KDHcrime for up-to-the minute updates.

Media report:

Thirty-three journalists are here today from CNN, Fox News, the Los Angeles Time, the New York Times, the Associated Press, Reuter's, Stars and Stripes, the San Antonio Express-News, Austin American-Statesman, regional TV and local network affiliates.

CNN has a summary piece about giving some of the highlights of the trial. The organization's legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin agrees with Hasan former defense team that the 42-year-old Army psychiatrist is pursuing the death penalty. "He is trying to become a martyr, trying to be executed for his crime," Toobin has said of Hasan's defense strategy, calling it "suicide by judge." Hasan has said, if executed he would be a martyr.

The Austin American-Statesman has some interactive coverage of the trial. A diagram of the shooting and a video map of locations Hasan visited prior to the shooting can be viewed here.

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