Hasan granted trial delay
FORT HOOD — Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s Article 32 was scheduled to start Thursday morning, but the defense’s request for a delay — its second — was granted.
The hearing, which is similar to a civilian grand jury, is set to start Oct. 4, said Col. James Pohl, who is the Article 32’s investigating officer.
The Article 32 was scheduled to start March 1, but the defense requested a delay in February, which Pohl granted.
Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the Nov. 5 shooting at Fort Hood’s Soldier Readiness Processing Center.
Pohl also determined the prosecution and defense would reconvene July 19 if there was a need to rule on any new or outstanding issues.
The defense, led by retired Col. John Galligan, argued Tuesday it needed more time to review materials with which they were only recently provided and work more with a mitigation expert. Galligan also said he and the Army lawyers assigned to defend Hasan, Maj. Christopher Martin and Lt. Col. Kris Poppe, needed more time to work together, as Poppe was a new addition to the team. Tuesday was his second time meeting with Hasan, Galligan said.
“He’s new,” Galligan later said of Poppe. “Very, very new and yet we have to function as a team.”
Both the prosecution and defense also are waiting for findings from several high-level investigations into the Nov. 5 event and what led to it, including whether Hasan’s superiors at his previous assignment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center failed to see potential problems.
Lawyers on both sides are awaiting a FBI ballistics report, said Col. Mike Mulligan, lead prosecutor in United States vs. Maj. Nidal Hasan.
Galligan later talked about whether the case was on track for capital referral and the death penalty for Hasan, something he insisted was happening last month during interviews with other media outlets.
Fort Hood officials later released a statement that read, “Recent articles and headlines stating that the Army has made a decision to pursue the death penalty against Maj. Nidal Hasan are inaccurate and misleading.”
Fort Hood officials stressed that no decisions have been made about whether to pursue the death penalty in the case, according to the statement, though Galligan told The Associated Press that military prosecutors have “done everything except tell me to my face that they plan to seek the death penalty.”
The military doesn’t try a lot of capital cases, Galligan, who is a former Army judge, said Tuesday morning. When it does, the reversal rate is significantly high, he added.
Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at **email@example.com** or (254) 501-7547. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.