FORT HOOD — A military court will decide today whether Maj. Nidal Hasan will be given more time to prepare a defense strategy.
Hasan has said he will attempt to justify the killing of 13 people on post in 2009 with a “defense of others” strategy.
The “others,” he said, are members of the Taliban. The Army psychiatrist could face the death penalty if convicted of 13 charges of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder connected with the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting at Fort Hood’s Soldier Readiness Processing Center.
His trial was set to begin last month when Hasan, 42, requested to go to trial acting as his own attorney. He initially told the court he would be able to proceed with no delay, but he asked for a three-month delay just minutes after presiding judge Col. Tara Osborn granted his request.
Hasan has since told the court he targeted soldiers who were preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. Military law experts said the choice in front of Osborn is in part based on the validity of Hasan’s defense and his ability to justify the time requested. Osborn should hear a summary of Hasan’s evidence prior to making a ruling.
The judge could grant Hasan’s full delay, give him less time or reject his request outright.
Hasan’s former defense attorney, John Galligan, said denying Hasan’s request outright could create appellate issues. If the continuance is granted, it will all but guarantee his trial will not conclude until very late 2013 or early 2014, more than four years after the mass shooting occurred.