Documents released to the Killeen Daily Herald on the authorization of the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 at Fort Hood show a glimpse into the motivations of the officer when he admittedly killed soldiers Nov. 5, 2009.
Maj. Nidal Hasan released a copy of his motion to delay trial filed June 10 following a ruling on Tuesday denying his latest request for a delay. They depict his trial strategy in his upcoming court-martial, scheduled to begin with jury selection July 9.
“I want to convey to you that my actions were meant to defend a people who were attacked by the United States,” Hasan wrote in what would have been his opening statement.
“I defended them because I felt God expected me to help my fellow Muslims even if it meant giving up my worldly accomplishments and gains,” he stated.
The presiding judge in his death penalty court-martial disallowed the admission of nearly all the contents of the documents, ruling that Hasan’s defense did not meet the merits of law.
Hasan asked for a three-month delay to prepare a defense that would frame the mass shooting as a protection of Taliban fighters he believes the U.S. targeted illegally.
His case has drawn the advocacy of a University of Illinois law professor Francis Boyle, who helped arrange communications between Hasan and ex-U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark, who may represent him in trial.
“Maj. Hasan has a constitutional right to put this defense on, a defense of others,” Boyle said when reached Tuesday in Illinois. “He was denied due process of law by the judge.”
Boyle had intended to testify on the validity of Hasan’s defense in a Fort Hood courtroom. However, the presiding judge, Col. Tara Osborn, refused his testimony based on a previous ruling on the inadmissibility of any evidence pertaining to Hasan’s defense.
Boyle taught at Harvard University and provided legal advice to the Palestinian Liberation Organization and a provisional Palestinian government. He also was qualified to testify in numerous military trials, according to documents filed with the court.
Boyle would have testified that the war in Afghanistan is illegal. Hasan would have used the testimony to bolster his case. Boyle said he may appeal the judge’s denial of his testimony if authorized by Hasan.
“This is completely outrageous what is going on down there,” Boyle said.
Hasan’s former defense attorney, John Galligan, who meets regularly with Hasan regarding a civil matter, said opinions from veteran attorneys like Boyle and Clark show the judge erred when she disallowed Hasan’s defense.
“He’s been forced to defend himself and told he has no defense,” Galligan said.
Hasan, 42, stated he would take the stand and admit to opening fire on soldiers and civilians on Nov. 5, 2009, at the Soldier Resource Processing Center on post.
He also calls himself a “simple person” and acknowledges the difficult task of representing himself at his death penalty trial stating “if I seem a little disorganized I probably am” and noting the challenges jurors will face with his defense.
“It’s not going to be easy because you are in the military and may have even participated in those attacks,” he stated. “You may even get angry with me.”