The Fort Hood shooter, Major Nidal Hasan, appeared today in a military courtroom for the first time since he carried out the deadly rampage on November 5 last year.
Hasan was set to face an Article 32 hearing under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, a proceeding that would entitle him to a "thorough and impartial investigation of the charges against him." In addition to determining what charges would be sought against Hasan, the parties were expected to discuss the psychiatric examination of Hasan, whether or not he will face the death penalty, and ongoing conflicts over access to evidence.
Instead, the hearing was pushed off for four-months at the request of Hasan's defense counsel, Ret. Col. John Galligan.
Col. Galligan had sought to delay the hearing and the entirety of the proceedings because he has been denied documents. Among those items which Galligan has requested are Hasan's military records, FBI files on Hasan's contacts with al Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, and government reviews of the shooting rampage.
In ruling on the defense motion, Col. James Pohl ruled that the defense must be given access to additional documents—an order that has now been complied with.
Today's hearing was only the first in what will likely be lengthy legal proceedings to bring Nidal Hasan to justice. The process will reconvene on October 1 at which time a military officer will evaluate and make recommendations on the preliminary charges—13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder.