Maj. Nidal Hasan will enter pleas today to all charges in what may be the last pre-trial hearing before jury selection begins. It should be the last hearing, except for a likely housekeeping hearing next Monday. Jury selection will begin in one week on July 9, and testimony should begin on Aug. 6. My preview of what should happen published today and can be seen here.
Hasan has on several occasions told the court in writing and in person he would rather plead guilty to all charges then pursue any defense. However, presiding judge Col. Tara Osborn ruled in March that he cannot plead guilty to any charges because of military justice rules. So Osborn will likely enter in a plea of "not guilty" for Hasan today. I'll be watching from the auxiliary court room at Club Hood for live Tweeting and quick updates. Follow me @KDHcrime for up-to-the-minute news.
Greater interest today with reporters from the Associated Press, Reuters, the Austin American-Statesman and television stations from outside of Central Texas here. To be expected, given the possible finality of pre-trial hearings, which should be wrapped up nicely in a pleading for those looking for a simple narrative. That sounded cynical, but it is true.
The Associated Press via Huffington Post gives a summary and contrasts what is happening here with the court-martial of Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the soldier accused of killing 16 civilians in Afghanistan, including several women and children. Bales faced capital murder charges but was allowed to plead guilty because prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty. I contrasted the two criminal cases about a month ago shortly after Bales pleaded. That is readable here.
Reuter's has a piece speculating on what will happen today. The article quotes Geoffrey Corn from the Southern Texas College of Law and Jeffrey Addicott of St. Mary's, who are both former Army lawyers I have spoken to numerous times about Hasan. The piece says this is the last "scheduled" hearing before jury selection begins. I doubt that. As stated above, I could see a hearing happening tomorrow and I all but guarantee a hearing will be held on Monday.
Today's pleading is no. 4 on ABC News' 5 Things to Know This Morning along with the mourning of 19 firefighters in Arizona who died fighting a wildfire and the ouster of Serena Williams from Wimbeldon.