Accused Fort Hood gunman Nidal Hasan said during a hearing Tuesday that he was defending Islamic militants in Afghanistan when he carried out his attack. This is the first time he has discussed his motivation for the November 2009 shooting rampage.

Hasan told judge Col. Tara Osborn that Taliban leader Mullah Omar and other militant leaders were in immediate danger from American troops deploying to Afghanistan. Osborn had to remind Hasan that he will not be allowed to make speeches or testimony while questioning witnesses as he defends himself at trial.

Osborn ordered a delay of jury selection, which had been scheduled for Wednesday. Hasan must submit a brief by Wednesday morning explaining why he has legal authority to claim such a defense. Army prosecutors will also need to submit a brief in response. Military law experts are speculating that Hasan moved to fire his attorneys because they believed his “defense of others” strategy is without merit.