Greg Rinckey, a former U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps attorney, said the appeals courts are highly unlikely to allow Hasan to represent himself and his appointed attorney could lodge a number of challenges.
“Part of defense strategy in this case will be delays . . . [and] I think they’re going to file mental-health issues, whether he had the capacity to stand trial, ineffective assistance of counsel,” Rinckey said.
A military jury has convicted Maj. Nidal Hasan in the deadly 2009 shooting rampage that killed 13 people and wounded dozens more. The verdict makes the Army psychiatrist eligible for the death penalty.
But he also says delays in signing the proposed pact could undermine the country’s stability as a pullout looms.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel agrees to an emergency request from France for help.
Read all of the stories in The Washington Post’s ongoing coverage of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.
Hasan, who worked at Walter Reed Army Medical Center from 2003 to 2006, had been due to deploy to Afghanistan within a few weeks of the attack, and prosecutors presented evidence of his meticulous planning. The Army major and psychiatrist chose the most high-tech, high-capacity weapon available at a gun store in Killeen, Tex., and trained himself at a local firing range before giving away some of his belongings on the day of the shooting.
Shortly after 1 p.m. on Nov. 5, 2009, Hasan walked into Fort Hood’s Soldier Readiness Processing Center with two guns, shouted “Allahu akbar!” meaning “God is great,” and opened fire, the court was told.
Twelve people who were killed were soldiers waiting for medical tests; the other was a civilian who tried to tackle the psychiatrist. Hasan was left paralyzed from the chest down after being shot by an Army police officer and now uses a wheelchair.
The shootings exposed a number of failings by the Defense Department, which a Pentagon report concluded was unprepared for internal threats, and by the FBI. On one occasion, Hasan gave a presentation to senior Army doctors in which he discussed Islam and suicide bombers and warned that Muslims should be allowed to leave the armed forces as conscientious objectors to avoid “adverse events.”
The FBI was also aware that Hasan had exchanged 18 e-mails with Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical U.S.-born Islamic cleric who was a leading figure in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula before he was killed by a U.S. drone strike in 2011. However, the e-mails were dismissed as legitimate research, and the Defense Department was not informed.
During the sentencing phase, the prosecution and defense can present evidence on the impact of the crime and any mitigating circumstances. The approval of three-quarters of the military jury is required for a prison term of more than 10 years; the death penalty requires a unanimous decision.