FORT HOOD — Accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan will be back in a Fort Hood courtroom today.
Presiding judge Col. Gregory Gross is expected to rule on whether Hasan can wear a beard during his trial. Hasan has grown a beard for religious purposes, according to court documents.
Gross has prevented Hasan from being present in the courtroom with facial hair, holding him repeatedly in contempt of court and calling Hasan’s choice to defy military regulations a disruption.
A hearing will be held to determine if federal religious freedom law allows Hasan to wear a beard.
If allowed to remain in court with a beard, Hasan likely will enter pleas to 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder stemming from the Nov. 5, 2009, mass shooting on post.
If the judge orders Hasan forcibly shaved, proceedings will be halted while the 41-year-old Army psychiatrist files appeals with the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.