(Orange, Texas)

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June 15, 2013

Judge bans Fort Hood suspect's defense strategy


FORT HOOD, Texas —

Osborn also said last week that Hasan would represent himself unless he changed his mind or disobeyed the court's orders and trial rules. Hasan's former defense attorneys have been ordered to assist him if he asks.

The next hearing is Tuesday, and along with ruling on the delay request, Osborn is expected to address the defense attorneys' new motions about their role as standby attorneys.

Earlier this week, the lawyers said complying with the judge's order to fully assist Hasan would require them to act unethically. Hasan said they refused to give him legal advice about his defense strategy because they opposed it. The lawyers indicated they may withdraw from the case, which may change due to Osborn's decision Friday.

Jury selection was set to begin two weeks ago, and then was tentatively moved to last week. It's been on hold as various matters remain unresolved.

Witnesses have said that after lunch on Nov. 5, 2009, a gunman wearing an Army combat uniform shouted "Allahu Akbar!" — "God is great!" in Arabic — and opened fire in a crowded medical building where deploying soldiers get vaccines and tests. Witnesses said the gunman fired rapidly, pausing only to reload, even shooting at some soldiers as they hid under desks and fled the building.

Government documents show that in the years before the shooting, Hasan told some colleagues that the U.S. was at war with Islam. In some emails to a radical Muslim cleric, Hasan indicated that he supported terrorists and was intrigued with the idea of U.S. soldiers killing comrades in the name of Islam.

Not everyone killed at the Army post was about to deploy to Afghanistan or elsewhere. Pvt. Francheska Velez, who was pregnant, had just returned from Iraq. Michael Grant Cahill, who tried to stop the gunman with a chair, was a physician assistant who worked in the building.

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