Accused Fort Hood Gunman's Battle Of The Beard Moves To Appeals Court

Maj. Nidal Hasan (Jail photo)
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FORT HOOD (October 3, 2012)—The U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals set oral arguments for 1 p.m. Oct. 11 on the various appeals filed by Maj. Nidal M. Hasan over his refusal to appear clean shaven while in uniform at his court martial.

The court says it also will consider whether the trial judge, Col. Gregory Gross, exceeded his authority and should be removed from Hasan's case.

The court is at Ft. Belvoir, Va., just outside the nation's capital.

The proceedings are open to the public.

The court-martial of the accused Fort Hood gunman is on hold after defense attorneys filed two appeals related to Hasan's beard, which has been a point of contention in pretrial proceedings.

Military Judge Col. Gregory Gross has ordered Hasan to shave and said if he refuses he would be shaved forcibly before the trial begins.

Hasan, however, argues he grew the beard because his Muslim faith requires it.

His attorneys filed appeals seeking a ruling on whether the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows Hasan to keep the beard.

The first seeks to overturn contempt findings against Hasan in previous hearings and to bar any future contempt proceedings over the beard.

The second seeks a ruling on whether the act allows Hasan to have a beard while in military uniform during his court-martial.

Hasan faces a possible death penalty if convicted in the Nov. 5, 2009 rampage that left 13 dead.