Maj. Nidal Hasan (Jail photo)
FORT HOOD (May 9, 2013)--A U.S. Army judge on Thursday denied several motions from attorneys for accused Fort Hood gunman Maj. Nidal Hasan, including one to set aside the death penalty and one to delay the start of Hasan’s court-martial.
Military Judge Col. Tara Osborn turned down a defense request to set aside the death penalty, which would have allowed Hasan to plead guilty to lesser charges of non-premeditated murder and attempted non-premeditated murder.
Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the Nov. 5, 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood's Soldier Readiness Center.
She also refused a defense request to set the trial off from its current date to move it further from the Boston Marathon bombing because defense lawyers say national media has drawn unfair comparisons between the events in Boston and the Fort Hood shootings.
Osborn also denied defense motions to provide Hasan with a media expert to testify, granted a motion to allow defense lawyers to compel testimony from certain members of Hasan's family and reversed an earlier ruling to prevent defense attorneys from reviewing a 51-page panel member questionnaire before it is presented to prospective members.
Several members of Hasan's family have said they will not testify, but Thursday's motion forces them to do so or face contempt charges from the court.
The judge did set off by one day the start date for jury panel selection from May 29 to May 30 to allow lawyers on both sides to discuss jury panel selection questions on the May 29.
Defense attorneys have been filing motions almost daily and Osborn has said she will hear every one before trial starts, even if it means the parties have to gather daily to do so.
Panel selection is expected to last about four weeks.