FORT HOOD (June 19, 2012)-Army Maj. Nidal Hasan watched his pretrial hearing Tuesday on closed circuit television after the military judge in charge of his case had him removed from the courtroom.
Col. Gregory Gross had Hasan taken from the courtroom to a trailer about 15 feet away from the building after he determined that Hasan violated his order to shave his beard and groom his hair.
Hasan was wheeled into the courtroom at 10:02 a.m. and by 10:30 a.m. he had been taken out.
The proceeding was recessed until Hasan could be situated in the nearby trailer.
After the hearing resumed, Gross granted a defense request for authorization to hire a neurologist to exam Hasan.
Gross also heard arguments on discovery issues, defense access to the commander of III Corps and his staff judge advocate and a defense motion to delay the start of Hasan’s court-martial until December.
He’s expected to rule on those motions at the next pretrial hearing, which is now scheduled for 10 a.m. on June 29.
Between now and then, unless Hasan shaves or the Department of the Army grants an exception to regulations as a religious accommodation, he’ll view the proceedings on a closed-circuit feed again, Gross said.
Hasan’s attorneys indicated they would take the issue to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals.
The government provided the trailer and the closed circuit television system by which could both view and participate in events going inside the courtroom.
There is a switch on the system that allowed Hasan to turn off the video feed, but audio may not be turned off.
The video camera in the courtroom provided Hasan a view of the judge and the witness stand.
The camera inside the trailer provided the court a view of Hasan so he could respond to questions asked of him and speak with his attorneys.
Gross admonished Hasan during a hearing earlier this month that should he fail to shave his beard and groom his hair, he would be removed from the courtroom.
Lead defense attorney Lt. Col. Kris Poppe argued that Hasan grew the beard as a "deeply sincere" expression of his Islamic faith and because he has a premonition he will die soon.
But prosecutors pointed out that Hasan has appeared at several earlier hearings clean-shaven and groomed.
Hasan faces the possibility of the death penalty if he's convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the November 2009 attack at the post's Soldier Readiness Center.
Poppe, released a statement after the proceedings Tuesday about a letter Hasan sent in July 2011 dismissing his original attorney, John Galligan of Belton.
"Please be clear, as of July 20, 2011, at 2:30 p.m. you were no longer my attorney and do not represent me in any capacity,” the letter said.
Poppe said Hasan’s decision hasn’t changed and said any comments that Galligan has made about this case “are for his own purposes and not on behalf of Hasan,” a Fort Hood press release said.