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FORT HOOD

Judge tells Hasan he can keep beard

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© BRIGITTE WOOSLEY © BRIGITTE WOOSLEY

FORT HOOD – After months of arguments and appeals, the new military judge in the Major Nidal Hasan case said the accused shooter could keep his beard, Tuesday.

The ruling was the last topic discussed during the hour-long pre-trial hearing.

Trial judge, Colonel Tara Osborn, asked Hasan if growing the beard was a voluntary decision and that he knew he was breaking Army regulations by doing so.

Hasan replied, "yes ma'am" to each of the questions.

Osborn then warned Hasan that having the beard during his trial could present an adverse reaction from panel members during the trial.

The accused Fort Hood shooter acknowledged the potential consequences and didn't seem to be phased by the judge's words.

Before handing down the dramatic decision, Judge Osborn began the hearing by introducing herself and stating her qualifications.

She then asked if the Government or Hasan's attorneys had any questions about her role as the trial judge.

For the next 20 minutes, Osborn was subjected to more than two dozen questions by Hasan's attorneys; most of which had to do with any potential ties to the November 2009 shooting.

The judge was able to prove she had no ties to any of the victims or anyone who was on post during that tragic day, and the defense rested.

From there the defense requested that Osborn reconsider 20 motions that former trial judge Col. Gregory Gross ruled on over the last year.

Some of the motions included a change of venue, the use of expert witnesses, and the releasing of classified documents.

Hasan's attorneys said there was new evidence and that seven of the motions needed to be re-litigated.

The judge granted the defense's request and said she would look over the motions and review the transcripts of the trial.

She asked that both sides send her a proposed schedule to litigate the pending motions by December 28th.

Osborn said she needed more time to catch up with the case but would set a new pre-trial hearing for sometime in January to pick things back up.

If each of the motions are heard, and new motions are brought up in the meantime, it could be weeks if not months before Hasan's trial begins.

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