Judge Blocks Evidence Toward Motive in Hasan Trial - KXXV Central Texas News Now


Judge Blocks Evidence Toward Motive in Hasan Trial


Witnesses testified Monday they saw Nidal Hasan reloading a handgun outside the soldier readiness center on Ft. Hood, Nov. 5, 2009.  He told them "don't worry, a training exercise is going on."

Minutes later, 13 people were dead and 32 others were wounded. 

That testimony was just part of an eventful day in the courtroom on post.  Judge Colonel Tara Osborn denied a number of key pieces of evidence prosecutors wanted to introduce as they tried to provide a motive for Major Nidal Hasan's attack that day.

That barred evidence included any reference to Hasan Akbar, a Muslim soldier who is now on death row for killing fellow soldiers in Kuwait in 2003. 

Prosecutors wanted to suggest Nidal Hasan carried out a "copycat" attack on Ft. Hood, but Judge Osborn ruled that information would "only open the door to a mini-trial" of Akbar and result in a "confusion of issues, unfair prejudice, waste of time and undo delay."

The judge also ruled emails between Hasan and Anwar Al-Awlaki, a radical U.S. born Islamic cleric, could not be introduced as evidence.  But she did allow evidence about Internet searches on Hasan's computer that included "Jihad"and websites he indicated were favorites.

Once prosecutors finish their case - likely later this week - Hasan has indicated he will only call two witnesses.  A big question is whether he will be one of them.

?That's a good question," said News Channel 25 Legal Analyst Steve Walden, from the Carlson Law Firm's Killeen office.

"We don't know who his two witnesses are. He could be one of them. I think the indication from his opening statement, that he is the actual shooter. I think he's probably going to get on the stand and testify and that's probably why Colonel Osborn said ‘be warned if you're gonna go forward. You should have an attorney,which is good advice,"  Walden added.

Hasan briefly cross-examined Staff Sgt. Juan Alvarado, who saw when the gunman was engaged in a shootout with police sergeant Kimberly Munley. 

"Are you saying - and I don't want to put words in your mouth - are you saying that after it was clear that she was disarmed, I continued to fire at her?" Hasan asked.

Alvarado, who was visibly nervous being questioned by Hasan, said that was correct.

That was only the third witness out of 80 that Hasan had questioned. 

The government said Friday it only had 15-25 witnesses remaining, and that number is likely smaller now after the judge disallowed some testimony.

Court resumes Tuesday morning on post.

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