Ft. Hood suspect lays out strategy

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Bell County Sheriff's Department shows Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage that left 13 dead. Hasan will represent himself at his upcoming murder trial, meaning he will question the more than two dozen soldiers he's accused of wounding, a military judge ruled Monday, June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Bell County Sheriff's Department, File)
FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Bell County Sheriff's Department shows Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage that left 13 dead. Hasan will represent himself at his upcoming murder trial, meaning he will question the more than two dozen soldiers he's accused of wounding, a military judge ruled Monday, June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Bell County Sheriff's Department, File) (Uncredited)

He intends to use a "defense of others" argument at trial.

Posted: June 05, 2013

FORT HOOD, Texas - The Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage said Monday that he'll use a "defense of others" argument when he represents himself at his forthcoming murder trial.

Maj. Nidal Hasan did not elaborate when announcing his strategy Monday, shortly after a military judge agreed to allow him to represent himself.

But it was the first time Hasan hinted at his reasoning behind the worst mass shooting on a U.S. military installation.

Hasan, 42, faces the death penalty or life without parole if convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.

Hasan, who was set to deploy to Afghanistan with some of the troops killed that day on the Texas Army post, likely will try to show that he was trying to defend Muslims against U.S. troops in a war that he believes is illegal and immoral, military law experts said. To prove a "defense of others" argument, a defendant must show a threat was imminent.

Hasan also asked for a three-month delay to prepare. The judge said she would decide that issue Tuesday, a day before jury selection was scheduled to begin.

"Even if he feels the U.S. is in an unjustified war, this defendant is not going to be able to show a threat was immediate because these soldiers were on U.S. soil and unarmed," said Jeff Addicott, director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, who is not involved in Hasan's case.

After questioning Hasan for about an hour, the judge, Col. Tara Osborn, ruled that Hasan was mentally competent to represent himself and understands "the disadvantage of self-representation." She repeatedly urged him to reconsider his request, noting that the lead prosecutor has more than 20 years of experience and that Hasan will be held to the same standards as all attorneys regarding courtroom rules and military law.

"You've made that quite clear," Hasan said after the judge asked if he understood that representing himself was not "a good idea."

At Osborn's request, a doctor testified Monday about Hasan's physical condition.

The doctor said Hasan's paralysis would not have a significant impact during proceedings but that Hasan can sit for only four consecutive hours and has limitations writing.

He was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by police the day of the Fort Hood attack.

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