The Fort Hood shooting trial resumed Thursday after the judge refused to grant a request from Nidal Hasan’s standby defense attorneys to drop out of the case.  The attorneys argued Wednesday that Hasan’s strategy in court thus far has demonstrated that the defendant – who is representing himself – appears to be arguing for his own death sentence.

From CBS News:

The judge, Col. Tara Osborn, denied that request Thursday, saying it was clear the lawyers simply disagreed with Hasan’s defense strategy.

“Standby counsel may not agree with way case is proceeding, but Major Hasan determines his trial strategy,” said Osborn, CBS News’ Paula Reid reports from court. “This is nothing more than their disagreement with Major Hasan’s trial strategy.”

But the attorneys were adamant and said they would appeal to a higher court.

“We believe your order is causing us to violate our rules of professional conduct,” Lt. Col. Kris Poppe told the judge.

Osborn briefly recessed the trial, but the hearing later resumed and jurors were allowed in after the standby attorneys were told to continue in their current duties.

Standby defense counsel said they felt it was “morally repugnant” to continue in their duties.

But the judge pushed back against their concerns, saying that the court’s order released them of any liability, and ordered that anything filed by standby counsel must now first be reviewed by Hasan.

The prosecution indicated that Hasan’s defense strategy is not all that surprising or extraordinary, according to CBS News.

The prosecutor, Col. Michael Mulligan, defended Hasan’s strategy, saying Thursday that it would have been “absurd” for Hasan to contest the facts of what happened the day of the attack in November 2009.

Mulligan said Hasan appeared to be taking on a “tried and true” defense strategy of not contesting the facts but rather offering an alternative reason about why they occurred.

“I’m really perplexed as to how it’s caused such a moral dilemma,” Mulligan told the judge.

After the jury returned and proceedings finally resumed, Hasan did not cross examine witnesses who had been shot in the incident.




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