News / USA

Prosecution Rests Case in Fort Hood Trial

In this courtroom sketch defense witness Stephen Bennett, right, testifies as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, left, and presiding judge Col. Tara Osborn look on in court during Hasan's court-martial in Fort Hood, Texas, Aug. 20, 2013.
In this courtroom sketch defense witness Stephen Bennett, right, testifies as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, left, and presiding judge Col. Tara Osborn look on in court during Hasan's court-martial in Fort Hood, Texas, Aug. 20, 2013.
Greg Flakus
Prosecutors in the trial of accused Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan rested their case Tuesday after presenting 89 witnesses and a large amount of technical evidence over the past weeks.  It is now time for the accused, who is representing himself, to call witnesses and present his case.

After presenting their last witness in the case against Major Hasan, military prosecutors rested and presiding Judge Colonel Tara Osborn set Wednesday for the defense to begin presenting its case.  Hasan is accused of murdering 12 soldiers and a civilian and wounding more than 30 others during a shooting rampage at the army base on November 9, 2009.

Jeffrey Addicott, a military law expert at the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, says the prosecution presented a complete picture of how Hasan planned the attack, how it was carried out, and the horrific results in terms of people wounded and killed.

"The prosecution put on a strong case," he said. "They have put on scores of witnesses, they covered their bases from A to Z, they have proven that he is the individual who killed the victims and wounded the other victims."

Since Hasan is representing himself, he will be able to call and question witnesses and present any other evidence he has on Wednesday.  Judge Osborn ruled earlier that he cannot argue that the murder was justified in order to protect others, namely, the Taliban and Islamic radical fighters in Afghanistan or Iraq.  But Addicott believes, based on statements Hasan made earlier, that he himself will take the stand and admit to the crime.

"He is going to take full responsibility and full credit, if you will, because in his mind what he did was justified," he said. "Now, the judge will not allow him to raise 'defense of others' as a defense, but she cannot stop him from talking about why he did it."

Addicott says that if Hasan does this he will then open the way for prosecutors to ask in cross examination about his jihad motive, something the judge had not allowed them to mention during their presentation of evidence.
 
"They will be able to ask him those questions, because once he takes the stand and opens that door then it is fair game," he said.

Over the past two weeks Hasan has remained mostly silent, asking few questions of prosecution witnesses.  This sped up the proceedings and allowed prosecutors to wrap up sooner than had been expected.  Hasan has indicated he only expects to call two witnesses, so Jeffrey Addicott says the closing arguments could come as early as Thursday, with the case then going to the jury, known in military law as the panel.  He says they could have a verdict by early next week and then the trial could move to the punishment phase in which panel members would determine whether to apply the death penalty.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More