Hasan judge rules on relitigated pretrial motions, sets next pretrial hearing date
Fort Hood, Texas -- In a nearly five-hour hearing, the trial judge in the case of the U.S. vs. Maj. Nidal M. Hasan, ruled from the bench on several defense motions to reconsider previous rulings and set the next pretrial hearing date in the court-martial for Feb. 27.
Military Judge Col. Tara Osborn heard arguments from defense counsel and prosecutors concerning if Hasan should receive at government expense a media analysis expert and an expert to interact with crime victims. Osborn upheld the previous decisions and ruled against the defense on employing both experts at government expense.
Osborn also upheld the constitutionality of how the military decides whether a case should be tried as capital, after defense challenged the procedures set forth in Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Additionally, the parties addressed whether Osborn should modify or lift protective orders issued on Department of Defense and Department of the Army investigations into the Fort Hood Shooting. Osborn said she would issue her decision on this matter in the near future.
Osborn said the next hearing date will begin Feb. 27 and last up to three days should that amount of time be necessary.
Issues to be litigated at the February hearing include: a) Whether a change of venue is appropriate, b) whether the convening authority must select new panel members, and c) under what circumstances prosecutors may present aggravating circumstances during presentencing proceedings. Osborn will also reconsider of the admissibility of Evan Kohlmann's expert testimony. A hearing was first held on this issue in August 2012.
The accused, Hasan, is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.