Hasan Trial – Wednesday Hearing Will Decide If Nidal Hasan Is Competent Enough To Represent Himself
Fort Hood gunman Major Nidal Hasan will seek permission to represent himself at trial during a hearing today.
The presiding judge, Colonel Tara Osborn, will explain to Hasan the disadvantages of defending himself against 13 premeditated murder charges and 32 charges of attempted premeditated murder. If she deems Hasan competent to make such a decision, she will likely require that defense attorneys still be present to assist Hasan if necessary and to prevent a possible mistrial.
Hasan’s choice to defend himself could, however, open up new avenues for appeal. It also means that he’ll be able to question and cross-examine witnesses, including people he is charged with wounding and family members of those murdered in the 2009 Fort Hood terrorist attack.
Hasan has offered to plead guilty of all charges if the death penalty is taken off the table, but there is no indication that this will happen. Military law does not allow a defendant to plead guilty in a death penalty case.
Jury selection in the case is set to begin next week and expected to last around four weeks. Testimony is currently set to begin in early July.