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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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 Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid