Hasan Lawyers Seek To Overturn Latest Court Ruling

Maj. Nidal Hasan (Jail photo)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 8, 2012)--Lawyers for accused Fort Hood killer Maj. Nidal Hasan have filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces seeking to overturn a ruling issued last month.

The appeals seek to overturn the previous decision from the Army Court of Criminal Appeals authoring the trial judge to order the removal of Hasan's beard, worn in violation of Army grooming standards.

The appeals also seek to have the court order Col. Gregory Gross, the trial judge, removed from the case because of alleged bias and to overturn the past contempt proceedings held because of Hasan's refusal to shave his beard.

Hasan's court martial remains stayed by the CAAF pending resolution of these matters.

A response to the appeals may be filed no later than Nov. 19.

The CAAF may set a date for oral argument, but has not done so yet and is not required to do so before making a decision in the case.

There was no indication how long the stay will remain in effect.

The order said only that Hasan's motion for a stay "is hereby granted pending further order of the Court."

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces is the highest-level appellate court for the U.S. military.

In October, the U.S. Army Court of Appeals upheld the finding of trial judge Col. Gregory Gross that Hasan failed to prove the beard is an expression of a sincerely held religious belief and said even if the beard were such an expression, "compelling government interests" also justified Gross' order that Hasan meet Army grooming standards.

Gross ordered Hasan to shave before the court-martial or said he would have him shaved forcibly.

The court also upheld previous contempt findings against Hasan in which he was fined $1,000 six times for appearing in court out of uniform because of his beard.

Two judges on the appeals court, in a partial dissent, said Gross' order requiring Hasan to appear in court clean-shaven compromised his impartiality.

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

On the third anniversary of the Fort Hood shooting rampage Monday, 148 survivors and family members of victims sued the U.S. government and seeking compensation over the attack in which an Army psychiatrist who is awaiting trial is charged.

The rampage on Nov., 5, 2009 at the post's Soldier Readiness Center left 13 people dead and more than two-dozen others wounded.

The lawsuit alleges negligence by the government and claims the Department of Defense is avoiding legal and financial responsibility for the killings by classifying the shootings as "workplace violence" rather than as a terrorist attack.

The group also is suing the estate of Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical U.S.-born Islamic cleric who the victims say inspired Army psychiatrist, Hasan, to carry out the attack.

The two men exchanged e-mails before the shootings.