Maj. Nidal Hasan wants to spread his message and he wants to use Fox News to do it.
A request that would be the first and likely only on-camera interview with the man accused of carrying out the Fort Hood shooting has made Hasan and the cable news network, known for conservative views, unlikely allies.
On Friday, Hasan filed a court motion written by Fox News attorneys to make that interview happen.
The motion asks the judge to intervene with the current Army policy surrounding media coverage of his trial that prevents any journalist from interviewing soldiers or civilians as long as they remain on Fort Hood grounds. The rule includes Hasan.
The military judge, Col. Tara Osborn, denied Hasan’s request, telling the 42-year-old psychiatrist the criminal court over which she presides does not have any jurisdiction over what she said was a civil matter.
“Basically he has no access to the media except by phone, which is recorded,” said John Galligan, Hasan’s former defense attorney who is now representing him in a civil matter. “What a circus.”
Attorney Chip Babcock, whom Fox has retained for certain matters, confirmed the document was authored by Fox attorneys. However, Babcock said he was unaware Hasan intended to file the document with the court on Friday.
The judge hasn’t issued a gag order in the case against Hasan, despite two requests from prosecutors.
However, since his incarceration, the major has remained either confined at Bell County Jail or on post. In-person interviews have been forbidden at both locations by the sheriff’s department and the Army.
Citing his inability to meet with the reporters, Hasan told the court he should not be prevented from access to them based on his First Amendment rights.
His statement came just one day after he released hand-written notes to Fox News renouncing the Constitution, his military oath and the United States.
“The sovereignty of all-mighty God must always prevail over the sovereignty of Man,” Hasan stated.
With his ability to address his stated motives in trial, Hasan has passed documents to reporters indicating his actions on Nov. 5, 2009, were inspired by a hatred of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a religious fervor that has moved toward extremism.
He provided the Herald with his opening statements for his legally stricken “defense of others” in early June and later a 2011 transcript of an unpublished statement to an Al Jazeera reporter to both Fox News and the Herald.
On Tuesday, Galligan informed Fox News that Hasan was agreeable to an on-camera interview. The request languished for three days, Galligan said, before being passed up command, through the Staff Judge Advocates office and ultimately to Osborn, who denied the request Friday.
Hasan’s only possible further recourse may be to either sue the Department of the Army or hope Fox News can pull strings to change the minds of Fort Hood commanders.
Babcock said Fox News has not indicated yet if the network would take legal action to force an interview. The Texas attorney, reached by phone in Canada, said he understands the Army’s position and the difficult logistics of security.
“There are legitimate concerns when someone is in custody,” Babcock said.