Accused Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan gave his first public explanation for the 2009 rampage that killed 13 people yesterday: He was defending Taliban leaders. Hasan, who is representing himself in court, asked the judge for a three-month delay in the trial so he could switch his argument to a "defense of others" strategy. When pushed to identify exactly which others he was defending, he replied, "The leadership of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban," specifically citing leader Mullah Muhammad Omar, the New York Times reports.
The judge then pressed Hasan further to explain how the alleged shooting spree helped protect the lives of men some 8,000 miles away. "They’re part of the United States military," he said. She set another hearing for today to continue discussions of his "defense of others" case. The strategy will require Hasan to prove he was compelled to kill the soldiers because they posed an imminent threat to others, reports CBS. Experts in military law are skeptical the defense will hold up. "These people were unarmed. They were thousands of miles from the battlefield," the director of Texas Tech's Center for Military Law and Policy tells the Times. "I think the defense in this context makes no sense at all."