A military judge in Texas ruled Friday that prosecutors can present evidence in the court martial of Ft. Hood massacre suspect Maj. Nidal Hasan that Hasan was on the Internet in the days and even the hours before the November 5, 2009 attack searching terms like ‘Taliban’ and ‘jihad.’
Hasan, 42, is set to face court martial starting on Tuesday in the deaths of 13 people and the wounding of 32 in a shooting rampage in a soldier readiness room at Ft. Hood. The evidence is part of what prosecutors call a ‘timeline of progressive radicalization’ by Hasan in the time leading up to the massacre, according to Ft. Hood officials.
But Judge Col. Tara Osborn earlier this week denied a request by prosecutors to reveal during opening arguments the substance of e-mailed communications between Hasan and Anwar al-Awaki, the U.S. born al-Qaeda leader who the FBI said advised Hasan in the months before the murders. She said she will consider allowing the e-mails to be introduced during the trial after she hears testimony putting the messages ‘in context.’
Osborn deferred a ruling on whether she will allow the 13 member panel of Army officers who will hear the case to look at ‘academic presentations about suicide bombing’ written by Hasan while he was an Army psychiatrist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, and presentations Hasan prepared about ‘soldiers conflicted about their military service because of their religion.’
Osborn also deferred a ruling on whether Hasan’s interest in the case of Army Sgt. Hasan Akbar, who was sentenced to death for the murders of two members of his unit in Kuwait durinhg the opening weeks of the Iraq War in 2003 can be mentioned by the prosecution.
Hasan requested permission to be interviewed ‘on camera by the media.’ Fox News joined Hasan in making this request, according to court officials. Hasan has been sending material to Fox News from his jail cell, including a statement earlier this week in which he renounced ‘my oaths of alliances to support or defend a man made constitution.’ Osborn said that decision is out of her authority.
Hasan indicated he plans to call only two witnesses in his defense, and Osborn ruled Hasan can testify in his own behalf, but he cannot ‘testify during his opening arguments,’ if he chooses to make one. Hasan is acting as his own lawyer.
Testimony in the frequently delayed case is set to begin Tuesday morning. Nine colonels, three lieutenant colonels and one major are on the military jury which will consider evidence in the case.