Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Hasan seeks to turn court martial into a show trial

24-hour delay for continuance hearing

Ft. Hood - Major Abu Nidal Malik Hasan and Col. Tara Osborn clashed repeatedly today in a hearing to examine a motion for three months’ continuance he filed as an initial act serving as his own lawyer.

The judge reacted with seeming incredulity when she asked him for a “proffer” - an offering of proof - to support his defense based on the defense of others as outlined in the Rules for Court Martial.

Citing a subsection of the rules that calls for an affirmative defense if an actor employs deadly force in the defense of others’ lives, Major Hasan told the judge that he was acting in defense of Omar, a leader of the Taliban in the Emirate of Afghanistan.

“Let me get this straight. The victims are members of the U.S. military. The Taliban are in Afghanistan,” Judge Osborn said, her voice rising in pitch, a note of incomprehension of what she was hearing.

“They’re part of the U.S. military, but they’re about to deploy to Afghanistan,” said Maj. Hasan.

“You believed the people you murdered were about to inflict death or bodily harm on the Taliban?”


Moments later, he allowed that the attack on the Taliban is part of an ongoing program of hostilities between Taliban forces and U.S. military units.

“Where is that defense found in RCM 9? (Rules for Courts Martial )Take your time...”

He had initially demurred in his response, saying he needed time to prepare a written answer to the question, not reply in an “incoherent fashion, not in a chopped-up fashion.”

For the second time, the judge reacted with chagrin, saying what she was asking for was a rendition of “some of the facts that you should be aware of, having been involved in this case for years.”

She reminded him that the day previous, she had warned him that he would be held to the same rules as any other attorney in his arguments.

Maj. Hasan responded after a lengthy pause that it is found at RMC 916 (e) (5).

The judge gave him 24 hours to prepare his answer. Court will reconvene at noon on Wednesday.

She did give one hint that she is keeping open the option of continuing the prosecution, rather than granting a motion to delay for an additional 3 months.

Col. Osborn asked the lead prosecutor, “The panel (of prospective jurors) is not to arrive earlier than Monday. Is travel on Sunday an issue?”

He said no.

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