Judge Won't Let Hasan's Lawyers Bow Out

He rejects their request to take over defense of Fort Hood gunman

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Aug 8, 2013 10:52 AM CDT

(Newser) – A military judge has resumed the Fort Hood shooting trial despite demands from the suspect's standby attorneys that they be removed from the case. The military defense lawyers ordered to help Maj. Nidal Hasan represent himself during his murder trial had asked to take over the case yesterday, saying they believed Hasan was trying to secure himself a death sentence. They told the judge that if Hasan were allowed to continue on his own, they wanted their roles minimized so Hasan couldn't ask them for help with a strategy they oppose.

The judge denied their request today, saying it was clear the lawyers simply disagreed with Hasan's defense strategy. The standby attorneys said they would appeal, saying the judge was forcing them to violate professional rules of conduct. Hasan is facing 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. If convicted, he'd face the death penalty. He surprised the court in his opening statements by saying, "I am the shooter."

In this courtroom sketch, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan sits in court for his court-martial Tuesday.
In this courtroom sketch, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan sits in court for his court-martial Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Brigitte Woosley)
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