Fort Hood Gunman Refuses To Enter Plea

(Sketch by Brigitte Woosley)
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FORT HOOD (July 2, 2013)—Fort Hood gunman Maj. Nidal Hasan, 42, refused to enter a plea during a pretrial hearing Tuesday, so military judge Col. Tara Osborn entered a plea of not guilty for him.

Hasan told Osborn Tuesday morning that he had heard that former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark wants to represent him and said he wanted three extra days to consider the offer.

Osborn later told Hasan he could hire Clark, but said there would be no delay in the start of selection of a jury panel on July 9.

Clark, 85, represented Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2005 and unsuccessfully sued the U.S. government on behalf of surviving Branch Davidians over the botched raid and standoff in 1993 at the group’s Central Texas compound.

He served as attorney general during the Johnson administration from 1967 to 1969.

Osborn had instructed Hasan during a pretrial hearing last week that he would have to enter a plea Tuesday consistent with the rules of the case or said she would enter one for him.

Hasan said he earlier tried to plead guilty after his Muslim community told him his actions went against Islamic teachings, but said he later came to believe his actions weren't wrong because of the war in Afghanistan.

Hasan is charged with premeditated murder and attempted premeditated murder in the shooting rampage on Nov. 5, 2009 at Fort Hood’s Soldier Readiness Center that left 13 dead and more than 30 injured.

If convicted, he could be sentenced to death.

A guilty plea isn't permitted in death penalty cases under the military code of justice.