Ft. Hood – Col. Tara Osborn confronted Maj. Abu Nidal Malik Hasan for releasing certain documents to news media in violation of a previous court order.
The judge warned him any subsequent violations of orders may cause her to rescind certain favorable decisions on motions she or the previous judge on the case granted.
She admonished him that repeat offenses could result in his losing the privilege to represent himself.
The accused gunman asked no questions of a panel of 20 Army field officers as the judge and government prosecutors quizzed them about their attitudes and beliefs as they relate to their being able to render a fair and impartial verdict of guilt or innocence on 13 specifications of premeditated murder and an additional 32 specifications of attempted premeditated murder.
A former Army psychiatrist of Palestinian-American extraction, Maj. Hasan claimed that all soldiers of the Islamic faith should be granted the status of conscientious objectors.
He rejected to his deployment orders to Afghanistan in November, 2009. On Nov. 5, 2009, Maj. Hasan launched a murderous attack with a semiautomatic handgun loaded with armor-piercing rounds at the Soldier Readiness Center, aiming at men whom he believed were being cleared to serve in the combat zone in that troubled nation.
Security is tight as prospective panelists are shuttled from their quarters to the courthouse on post. They enter and exit the building through a separate entry from the media and family members who are allowed to attend the trial. Anti-tank, rocket and small arms fire barriers surround the building. Visitors are subjected to two separate inspections for metal objects and weapons on their persons. They are required to leave all electronic devices and cell phones outside the courtroom in a corridor where Army troops stand guard with locked and loaded M-16 assault rifles.
Jurors will eventually hear evidence that Maj. Hasan believed his actions were in line with the teachings of Islam as to holy war, or jihad. At one point, he attempted to enter a motion for a 3-month delay to prepare a “defense of others” argument allowed by the Rules of Courts Martial under certain circumstances.
He told Judge Osborn that his intentions were to kill American servicemen who were on their way to Afghanistan in order to protect the Mullah Omar and other leaders of Al Qaeda, a terrorist sect of Islam. The judge denied his motion.
The judge and prosecutors found reason to excuse 6 of the prospective panelists for cause. Fourteen others will be questioned individually beginning at 9 a.m. On Wednesday, July 10.
The trial of the case in chief will begin on August 6 and is expected to last as little as one month, or as long as several months, according to Army spokesmen. They reminded the public that Maj. Hasan is to be considered innocent until proven guilty by the jury's verdict.