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Morning report: Aug. 27

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Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 7:39 am

Hello from Fort Hood. I'm back at Club Hood this morning for day 16 of Maj. Nidal Hasan's trial. It is day two of his sentencing.

Yesterday's hearing went through 12 witnesses, who were all either family members of deceased victims of the Nov. 5, 2009, Fort Hood shooting or surviving victims. Approximately seven witnesses remain from the prosecution. The court recessed after the lunch break for logistical reasons that were never explained in open court. For jurors, the early end to the day was likely welcome. Though they were only in court for roughly four hours, they heard a marathon of heart breaking testimony from widows, mothers and other family members of slain victims. Full coverage of the emotional hearing can be found here.

Here's a snippet:

For some, the hole left in their lives led to severe depression. One told the court she had attempted suicide more than once. Another said her husband’s death had caused her daughter to require a stay in a mental institution. A third said his daughter’s death was killing him slowly.

The prosecution should finish up their portion of sentencing testimony by midday today. Whether Hasan presents his case today, or any case at all for that matter, remains unseen. On Friday, Hasan asked presiding judge Col. Tara Osborn to allow him at least half a day to prepare his portion of sentencing. The two people he had on his witness list for sentencing are in town, and Hasan's request for a delay suggests he will at least give some sort of statement. However, the major continued to act passively Monday, asking no questions of any witnesses and making no objections.

As always, I will be tweeting updates from the courtroom here.

Media report:

Seventy-eight members of the media are here today, which is about par for the course at this stage of the trial. I expect them to remain for the duration of the trial, with a likely surge on the day Hasan's sentence is pronounced. USA Today, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, CNN, Univision, Al Jazeera America, Stars and Stripes, the Associated Press, Reuter's, the Austin American-Statesman, the San Antonio Express-News, regional and local television are all here. The Fort Hood Sentinel finally showed yesterday and is here today too. I missed them in yesterday's roll call. Sorry!

The Christian Science Monitor has a nice round-up story of various media reports, pondering whether Hasan will finally testify.

The Daily Beast has a piece from former U.S. Marine intelligence officer and attorney Andrew Borene taking the unpopular stance that the U.S. Army was correct in designating the Nov. 5, 2009, mass shooting here as 'workplace violence.' Borene writes, "trials are about justice not politics, and the Army used the best charge available to obtain an important conviction."

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