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July 2, 2013

Judge reviews Fort Hood suspect's jury questions

(Continued)

FORT HOOD, Texas —

Hasan told the judge he needed a three-day delay to talk to Clark. She said Hasan could hire a new attorney only if that person is ready by July 9. Hasan said if he couldn't hire Clark, he would continue representing himself. The judge has told Hasan's former attorneys to be ready to help if he asks.

Osborn noted Hasan's request came on the eve of the trial, which already has been delayed several times.

Osborn also entered a not-guilty plea for Hasan, 42, after he refused to enter a plea.

Hasan told the judge Tuesday he earlier tried to plead guilty after his "Muslim community" told him his actions went against Islamic teachings. But he said he later came to believe his actions weren't wrong because of the war in Afghanistan.

Under military law, a death penalty case requires a plea of not guilty. The judge previously refused to remove death as a punishment option in Hasan's case after he asked to plead guilty.

In contrast, last month at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales pleaded guilty as charged to premeditated murder and other charges as part of a deal that removed death as a punishment option. Bales killed 16 Afghan villagers during pre-dawn raids in 2011 during his fourth deployment. A penalty-phase trial next month will determine whether Bales is sentenced to life in prison with or without the possibility of parole.

Some military law experts argued that given Bales' history with post-traumatic stress disorder, prosecutors might have been unlikely to secure a death sentence.

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