Both Sides Seek Death Penalty for Hasan In A Historically Bizarre Trial


What started as a horrific attack at Fort Hood, in which Maj. Nidal Hasan is accused of shooting scores of unsuspecting fellow soldiers in 2009, has by turns and twists emerged as a bizarre legal drama playing out in an ultra-fortified compound in Killeen, Tx., reports the Christian Science Monitor. The trial of Hasan, a radicalized psychiatrist who is representing himself at trial and who admitted Tuesday that “I am the shooter,” saw its first major delay yesterday when court-appointed standby defense lawyers raised new objections about Hasan’s defense strategy. The trial was suspended today when the lawyers said they would appeal the judge’s decision that they should remain in the trial.

Hasan's lawyers suggestion that Hasan is ultimately not interested in defending himself added more complexity to a unique situation in which the Army wants to give Hasan a capital verdict that is iron-clad against appeals by coaxing him to defend himself. The Monitor says the trial has become “if not a show trial, a strange sort of legal dance.” The court wants to give Hasan every opportunity to avoid the death penalty in order to keep the expected death sentence from being overturned on appeal. Hasan’s goal may be martyrdom, to die at U.S. hands. “This is really one of the most bizarre proceedings in the annals of legal history,” says Aitan Goelman, a prosecutor in the Oklahoma City bombing trial of Timothy McVeigh.

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