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Fort Hood trial adjourned until Thursday

Aug. 21, 2013 - 11:56AM   |  
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FORT HOOD, TEXAS — A military judge has adjourned the Fort Hood trial for the day after the soldier accused in the shooting called no witnesses and rested his case.

Col. Tara Osborn said Wednesday the trial would resume on Thursday morning. She asked prosecutors if they were ready to present closing arguments Wednesday, but they said they would prefer to wait until Thursday.

Maj. Nidal Hasan is representing himself but told the judge that he wouldn’t be calling any witnesses in his defense. About five minutes after proceedings began Wednesday, the judge asked Hasan how he wanted to proceed. He answered: “The defense rests.”

Hasan is accused of killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 others at the Texas military base in November 2009. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

Hasan has made no attempt to prove his innocence or challenge the narrative of military prosecutors, who showed evidence of Hasan using his laptop to run Internet searches for “jihad” and find articles about calls to attack Americans in the days and even hours before the shooting.

He seldom spoke during the trial and questioned only three of the nearly 90 witnesses called by prosecutors. Many of those witnesses were survivors of the attack who recalled hearing a shout of “Allahu Akbar!” — Arabic for “God is great!” — inside a crowded medical building before Hasan opened fire using a laser-sighted handgun.

During his brief opening statement, he said evidence would show he was the shooter, and he said he’d “switched sides.”

The American-born Muslim suggested before trial that he wanted to argue the killings were in defense of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. A judge rejected that strategy.

Hasan began the trial signaling that he would call on just two people to testify — one a mitigation expert in capital murder cases and the other a California professor of psychology and religion.

But Hasan on Tuesday indicated to the judge, Col. Tara Osborn, that he would now call neither witness. That left Osborn raising her own skepticism that Hasan would seize his last chance before the case is sent to a jury of 13 military officers.

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