Another delay in Maj. Hasan's court martial for Ft. Hood massacre
October 22nd, 2012
05:36 PM ET

Another delay in Maj. Hasan's court martial for Ft. Hood massacre

By Larry Shaughnessy

The US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) Monday issued another stay in the court martial of Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged with 13 counts of murder and other counts in connection with the 2009 massacre at Fort Hood, the sprawling Army post in central Texas.

The move comes after defense attorneys lost an appeal last week that upheld the trial judge's order that Hasan appear in court clean shaven.

Hasan's attorneys have told the CAAF that they intend to appeal last week's ruling.

Until that appeal is resolved the court martial trial remains on hold.

Hasan is accused of opening fire at Fort Hood's processing center, where soldiers were preparing to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq, in November 2009. The solo attack left 32 people wounded, in addition to the 13 killed, while Hasan himself was paralyzed from the waist down after police officers exchanged fire with him.

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Court says Hasan can be shaved
October 18th, 2012
08:08 PM ET

Court says Hasan can be shaved

By Jennifer Rizzo

A military appeals court decided Thursday that accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan can be forcibly shaved, despite his assertion that his religion requires he wear a beard.

Siding with the judge overseeing the trial, Col. Gregory Gross, the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not allow Hasan to wear a beard during his upcoming court martial, as Hasan did not prove his beard was an expression of a sincerely held religious belief.

"We agree with the military judge's conclusion that petitioner's wearing of the beard denigrates the dignity, order, and decorum of the court-martial and is disruptive under the current posture of the case," the decision says.

Even if Hasan did wear the beard out of a sincere religious belief, the decision found that "compelling" government interests justified the judge's order for Hasan to be shaved.

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Judge orders Maj. Nidal Hasan forcibly shaved for court martial
Bell Co., Texas Sheriff's Office Photo
September 6th, 2012
03:16 PM ET

Judge orders Maj. Nidal Hasan forcibly shaved for court martial

By Larry Shaughnessy

Col. Gregory Gross, the judge who will oversee the military trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan, ordered the Army psychiatrist to be forcibly shaved for his trial, according to Tyler Broadway, a spokesman at Fort Hood.

The order is likely to trigger an appeal that would further delay the case, which has dragged on now since 2009.

Hasan's attorney had filed an appeal when Gross threatened to order the shaving but the appeals court said it wouldn't issue a decision until the shaving was actually ordered. Thursday's order by Gross opens the door for that appeal.

The last time he was in court, Hasan told the judge, "Your honor, in the name of almighty Allah, I am a Muslim. I believe that my religion requires me to wear a beard."

Gross has said the beard violates Army regulations and Hasan is still an officer in the U.S. Army and subject to regulations.

Hasan's court-martial had been scheduled to start last month at Fort Hood, in Killeen, Texas, where he is accused of killing 13 people and wounding 32.

His lawyers can now go to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, an independent tribunal with worldwide jurisdiction over active-duty members of the U.S. armed forces and others subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The District of Columbia-based court is made up of five civilian judges appointed for 15-year terms by the president. Decisions of the court are subject to direct appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Such an appeals process could delay Hasan's criminal trial for months if not years.

CNN's Bill Mears contributed to this report

Accused Fort Hood shooter makes first statement in court
Recent jail photo of Maj. Nidal Hasan which has cost him thousands of dollars in contempt of court fines. (Bell Co. Sheriff's Office Photo)
August 30th, 2012
05:12 PM ET

Accused Fort Hood shooter makes first statement in court

By Jennifer Rizzo

The Army psychiatrist accused of the 2009 Fort Hood shooting told the military judge his Muslim faith requires him to wear a beard, marking the first time Maj. Nidal Hasan has made a statement in court, according to his lawyer.

"Your honor, in the name of almighty Allah, I am a Muslim," Hasan said. "I believe that my religion requires me to wear a beard."

Hasan made the statement after the presiding judge, Col. Gregory Gross, asked why he was still in contempt of court - in other words, why Hasan hadn't shaved his beard, which is against Army regulations.

"I am not trying to disrespect your authority as a military a judge. And I am not trying to disrupt the proceedings or the decorum of the court," he said. "When I stand before God I am individually responsible for my actions."

Gross has threatened to have Hasan forcibly shaved, previously citing the regulations and the right to ensure "that a military trial proceeds without a distracting and disruptive sideshow."
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Fort Hood slaying case allowed to proceed
August 27th, 2012
05:29 PM ET

Fort Hood slaying case allowed to proceed

By Jennifer Rizzo

The trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan can move forward amid a dispute about the beard the Army psychiatrist grew while awaiting trial in the 2009 Fort Hood killings, an appeals court has ruled.

Hasan's court martial was to start last week at Fort Hood, in Killeen, Texas, where he is accused of killing 13 people and wounding 32, but was delayed when Hasan's legal team petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals to prevent the military judge from ordering Hasan's facial hair forcibly shaved. The presiding judge, Col. Gregory Gross, had threatened to order the shaving unless Hasan got rid of the beard, which is against Army regulations.

The Court of Appeals found that Hasan's petition was "premature" because Gross has not yet issued a definitive order. If an official order was given, the appeals court said, Hasan could file another petition.

The government contends it is within its right to order Hasan shaved, citing military regulations and the right to ensure "that a military trial proceeds without a distracting and disruptive sideshow."
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Government asks court to allow Fort Hood murder case to continue
August 22nd, 2012
11:45 AM ET

Government asks court to allow Fort Hood murder case to continue

By Jennifer Rizzo

The government has asked an appeals court to allow the trial against Maj. Nidal Hasan to move forward after a stay was issued last week amid a dispute about the beard the Army psychiatrist grew while awaiting trial in the 2009 Fort Hood killings.

Hasan's court-martial had been scheduled to start this past Monday at Fort Hood, in Killeen, Texas, where he is accused of killing 13 people and wounding 32. The presiding judge, Col. Gregory Gross, had threatened to order him forcibly shaved unless he got rid of the beard, which is against Army regulations.

The government's response to the stay ordered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces cited those regulations and stated the judge's actions are the "least restrictive" means to ensure "that a military trial proceeds without a distracting and disruptive sideshow."
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Ft. Hood shooter trial delayed
August 17th, 2012
05:10 PM ET

Ft. Hood shooter trial delayed

By Mike Mount

A military appeals court halted the murder case against Maj. Nidal Hasan indefinitely on Friday to sort out issues surrounding a judge's threat to shave the beard the Army psychiatrist grew while awaiting trial in the 2009 Fort Hood killings.

The court martial was originally stopped on Wednesday and Hassan was fined $1,000 for remaining bearded, which violates Army regulations. The military judge in the case, U.S. Army Col. Gregory Gross, had previously held that Hassan's beard disrupts the court proceedings and held him in contempt of court five times, the Army said in a news release.

Hasan's court-martial had been scheduled to start Monday at Fort Hood, in Killeen, Texas, where he is accused of killing 13 people and wounding another 32. Gross, had threatened to have him forcibly shaved unless he got rid of the beard on his own.
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Appeals court halts Hasan case over beard
August 15th, 2012
07:00 PM ET

Appeals court halts Hasan case over beard

From Jennifer Rizzo

A military appeals court halted the murder case against Maj. Nidal Hasan on Wednesday over a judge's threat to shave the beard the Army psychiatrist grew while awaiting trial in the 2009 Fort Hood killings.

Hasan's court-martial had been scheduled to start Monday at Fort Hood, in Killeen, Texas, where he is accused of killing 13 people and wounding another 32. The presiding judge, Col. Gregory Gross, had threatened to have him forcibly shaved unless he got rid of the beard, which is against Army regulations.

Wednesday's order by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces now means the trial date is unknown. Gross has until August 22 to respond to the appeals court.

Hasan had been expected to enter a plea during a Wednesday hearing, but the proceedings were halted by the appellate court, . Hasan has previously expressed interest in pleading guilty, but military regulations bar a judge from accepting a guilty plea in a capital case.

Hasan is accused of opening fire at the post's processing center, where soldiers were preparing to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq, in November 2009. The stay came the same day he was expected to enter a plea to the charges against him.

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FBI official: Hasan should have been interviewed on e-mails with radical cleric
August 2nd, 2012
10:38 AM ET

FBI official: Hasan should have been interviewed on e-mails with radical cleric

By Carol Cratty

An FBI counterterrorism official said Wednesday that the FBI should have interviewed accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan when it learned Hasan was communicating via e-mail with Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.

"I believe an interview would have been prudent in this case," said Mark Giuliano, executive assistant director for the FBI's national security branch. But he added he didn't think "political correctness" was the reason Hasan was not interviewed and he said an interview may not have headed off the tragedy in which Hasan allegedly killed 13 and wounded 32 others in November 2009.

Giuliano is the first FBI official to testify before Congress since an independent commission's report was made public on July 19 that examined how the FBI handled information that came up while the agency was investigating al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric who U.S. officials say became a key figure in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. FULL POST

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Fort Hood suspect may be 'forcibly shaved' before trial
July 25th, 2012
04:44 PM ET

Fort Hood suspect may be 'forcibly shaved' before trial

The military judge who will oversee the trial of the man accused in the 2009 Fort Hood massacre ruled Wednesday that if Maj. Nidal Hasan doesn't shave by the start of jury selection, he will be forcibly shaved.

Col. Gregory Gross has been telling Hasan he must shave, in accordance with Army regulations. Hasan, who is a Muslim, has refused to shave for more than a month, apparently in keeping with Quranic teachings.

During a pretrial hearing Wednesday, Gross ruled Hasan in contempt of court and fined him $1,000. Gross told Hasan that he unless the defendant shaves before the start of his trial, he will be "forcibly shaved," according to Christopher Haug and Tyler Broadway, spokesmen at Fort Hood.

Even though Hasan has been in custody since November 2009 when 13 people were shot and killed at the U.S. Army installation outside Killeen, Texas, he is still in the Army and still draws his pay.

Hasan was left paralyzed from the waist down in the shooting, when police officers exchanged fire with him. He faces a possible death penalty if convicted in the shooting.

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