FORT HOOD — Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark will not represent accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan during jury selection, set to begin today.
Hasan and Clark met multiple times at the Bell County Jail over the weekend and Monday to see if representing Hasan would be possible given the short amount of time to prepare.
“It’s a combination of the difficulty of preparing in time and the inability to declare my commitments,” Clark said.
Clark acted as U.S. attorney general under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Since leaving office, he became known as a staunch critic of wars in Vietnam and Afghanistan. He also made headlines for defending Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic charged with war crimes.
Clark, 85, did not rule out any future involvement, but said he is leaving town.
“I would be anxious to assist in any capacity I can in the future,” he said. “I think it is a case of very importance. It will directly impact our wars and the huge religious populations there and peace on earth.”
Jury selection should proceed with Hasan, a 42-year-old Army psychiatrist, representing himself. He will still have the assistance of a paid jury selection expert.
Hasan could face the death penalty if convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder arising from the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting spree on post, commonly known as the Fort Hood shooting.
It has taken more than 3½ years to get to this point in Hasan’s trial. The path to jury selection beginning this afternoon appears clear, though Hasan will have one last chance to enter pretrial motions during a morning hearing.
The jury will consist of between 13 and 16 commissioned officers outranking a major. Groups of 20 are being flown in from posts across the nation.
The prosecution will evaluate each juror individually and submit challenges as they arise. Once a jury is assembled, hearings will halt until the start of testimony, scheduled to begin on Aug. 6.
Contact Philip Jankowski at email@example.com or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.