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.