Internet terror 'relevant, probative'
Ft. Hood – Jurors will see evidence and hear testimony about internet searches Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan made – some on the day he gunned down 13 unarmed victims – for material that justifies deadly violence in the name of jihad.
Col. Tara Osborn, the Army judge hearing the General Court Martial, ruled that video and Power Point presentations Maj. Hasan made while training as a psychiatrist in 2007-2008 were made to third parties and “will only confuse the issue.” All such evidence will be excluded from court proceedings and redacted from stipulations of fact previously agreed by Hasan and the Army prosecutors.
Similarly, e-mails Hasan exchanged with the fiery Imam, Anwar al Awlaki, in which he urged the Army officer to engage in violent actions against fellow soldiers, are to be excluded for the same reasons.
The judge also ruled that the objections made to an application for conscientious objector status by a supervisor, Col. Waldrip, will be excluded in the government's case in chief because they are “too remote in time and too attenuated and will only confuse the issue.”
Any reference to murders committed by Sgt. Hasan Akbar in 2003, for which he has been sentenced to death, are to be excluded.
Computer searches Hasan made, some on the day of the violent massacre he freely admits to committing which claimed 13 lives, are “relevant, they're probative,” and they will be included in testimony and presented as evidence.
By deleting the name of Dr. Tim Jon Semmerling, a Chicago area mitigation specialist and attorney who consults with murder defendants charged with capital crimes, Hasan “resurrected” the privilege of confidentiality in affidavits he has supplied the defense, Judge Osborn ruled.
Prosecutors will not be allowed to use the facts they learned from affidavits supplied by Mercury Endeavor, Dr. Semmerling's mitigation service, as they would have had he still been scheduled to testify as a witness.
He is retained as a mitigation specialist to help during the sentencing phase of the trial. His motto, “Why an offense occurred, and why a sentence of life is more appropriate.” An attorney, Dr. Semmerling includes a reference to training he received at The Clarence Darrow College of Capital Punishment.