Standby counsel for Maj. Nidal Hassan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people and wounding 32 others in 2009 at a Soldier Readiness Center complex in Fort Hood, has requested to be removed from further obligation in the case. This twist in the case began to develop Tuesday when the Fort Hood shooter demanded to be his only defense team member and dismissed those originally representing him.
Defense attorneys assigned by Judge Osborn to act as “standby” counsel to assist in procedural steps of the trail said they felt as if they were aiding in Hasan purposely seeking the death penalty. Early Wednesday, Poppe said his assumption was correct after hearing Hussan’s opening statement and cross-examination of witnesses. Poppe, one of the newer defense attorneys, sought release from proceedings and said, “Assisting him in achieving the goal of moving closer to the death penalty is something a defense trial attorney should not be forced to do.” As the case developed, Fort Hood shooter, Hussan, objected to this claim by the defense team, declaring it was a “twist of facts” and “inaccurate.”
In earlier proceedings, news developed in the case that the Fort Hood gunman had admitted to being the shooter and planning all executions carried out. After pausing to weigh the new developments, Osborn cleared the courtroom and discussed the motion privately with Hassan and lawyers from both sides. Court was adjourned early Wednesday and will reconvene Thursday morning.
By: Kimberly M. Scott