Hasan's Standby Counsel Say He's Courting Death - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Hasan's Standby Counsel Say He's Courting Death

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Lawyers assisting accused Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan say he's courting death and that they want no part of it.

Wednesday was supposed to be day two of testimony in the case against the Army Psychiatrist,  as he faces 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder for the November 5, 2009, shooting rampage on post.

But the only ones taking a stand in the court room Wednesday were the lawyers who have been assigned to assist Hasan ever since he fired them and decided to represent himself.

Hours after Hasan said the words, "I was the shooter," in his opening statements Tuesday, his standby counsel filed a motion to modify their required role in the case.

The motion is sealed, because it contains privileged information that could cause a mistrial if the prosecution was privy to it.

Defense counsel did initially sent it to the prosecution, but they never viewed it.

"If the defense counsel released privIleged information to the prosecution that they can then use in the trial of Hasan, that would have been very serious," said former Fort Hood Staff Judge Advocate Richard Rosen.

Military Judge Colonel Tara Osborn asked Hasan's lead standby attorney Colonel Kris Poppe only to speak about the motion in generalities in court Wednesday.

Poppe said he and his team are compromising their ethics by advising and assisting Hasan with his case.

"The defense counsel is in a really difficult position here," Rosen said. "They're top notch defense counsel, they see their role as defending their client, and they believe their client is going down the wrong path."

Colonel Poppe says Hasan's pursuit of death was apparent in jury selection and has continued since.

He said, "It becomes clear that his goal is to remove impediments or obstacles to the death penalty."

But Hasan told the judge Poppe's assertion about his intentions is inaccurate, saying, "That's a twist of the facts."

At this point, the judge cleared the court room and began a closed discussion with the defense.

"I think ultimately, the goal here is to protect the record for appeal, to make sure that this case is not overturned, that [Hasan] gets a fair trial, that he gets every benefit of the doubt," says Rosen.

Court was recessed until 9 a.m. Thursday.

Reporter: Sophia Stamas sstamas@kcentv.com

Photographer: Chris Buford

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