The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Nation & World

August 19, 2013

Judge bars most motive evidence in Fort Hood trial

(Continued)

FORT HOOD, Texas —

Hasan — who is acting as his own attorney but has mostly sat in silence — could also soon shed light on such questions, if prosecutors rest their case as expected this week. If Monday were any indication, he may be ready to talk.

In a rare move, Hasan spoke up on Monday, first to challenge the government's definition of "jihad" and, for the first time since the day testimony began, questioned a witness.

Hasan briefly cross-examined Staff Sgt. Juan Alvarado, who saw a gunfight between Hasan and Kimberly Munley, one of the Fort Hood police officers who responded to the shootings. Alvarado said Hasan tried to shoot Munley after she had been shot and disarmed.

"Are you saying — and I don't want to put words in your mouth — are you saying that after it was clear that she was disarmed, I continued to fire at her?" Hasan asked.

Alvarado said that was correct.

The exchange marked the first time Hasan has questioned a witness to the shooting.

And earlier Monday, Hasan asked that the definition of "jihad" be adjusted. Prosecutors didn't object, and jurors were told that "under Islam, the central doctrine that calls on believers to combat enemies of the religious belief."

Such moments have been rare during the trial, during which Hasan has rarely spoken. In fact, the judge — once again — urged Hasan on Monday to forgo representing himself and to allow trained attorneys to take over.

Osborn told Hasan she believed he would be better off with a lawyer who knew the rules for military trials, such as when to raise objections and how to spot issues that could be cited on appeal.

"Remember when I told you that I thought you would be better off with a trained lawyer, who would know the rules for courts martial. ... You know that," the judge said.

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