The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Nation & World

August 19, 2013

Judge bars most motive evidence in Fort Hood trial

(Continued)

FORT HOOD, Texas —

"Repeatedly," Hasan replied.

"You still wish to proceed pro se?" she asked.

"I do," Hasan said.

Military defense attorneys ordered to help Hasan have accused him of trying to secure himself a conviction and death sentence. Hasan has denied the claims — but he could face the death penalty if convicted.

Prosecutors indicated on Friday that they had between 15 and 25 witnesses left, though it wasn't immediately clear how Monday's ruling blocking much of their motive evidence would affect their case.

The ruling also frustrated Reed Rubinstein, an attorney representing victims and their relatives in a civil lawsuit against the U.S. government. He said only in an "alternative universe" could the emails excluded by Osborn be irrelevant.

He also blamed the government for dragging out Hasan's case and making some evidence too old to be considered. In Monday's ruling, the judge said prosecutors couldn't cite Hasan's interest years ago in conscientious objector status and his past academic presentations because both were too old and irrelevant.

"The reason for that is the procedural pretzels the government has tied itself in to protect Hasan," Rubinstein said, noting that the trial was originally delayed because of a fight over whether Hasan could keep his beard, which violates military policy.

Rubinstein said that even if Hasan were found guilty, a conviction that comes without prosecutors introducing Hasan's alleged ties to terrorists in the criminal trial would leave a distaste for survivors of the attack.

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