FORT HOOD, Texas (AP/KXAN) - A military judge on Thursday decided to delay the murder trial for the Army psychiatrist charged in the Fort Hood shooting rampage just more than three months.
The decision came around 12:30 p.m. after the judge took a recess for an hour and a half from the court hearing where the defense argued for a delay in the trial's original start date of March 5 -- now set for June 12.
A stoic Maj. Nidal Hasan, accompanied by his defense team, was back in court Thursday morning asking for a delay in the trial until July. Hasan spoke only briefly when he told the judge he understood what he was doing by dismissing a member of his counsel and what it would mean for this case.
The defense has argued for a delay because they have not had enough time for their mitigating expert to review 320,000 pages of discovery into Hasan's religious background, childhood life, upbringing and everything else that may play a factor in the case.
The defense said the amount of discovery in this case is unlike any that they've ever seen -- some 60,000 pages since December. Because of that, defense attorneys said they need more time to be adequately prepared for trial.
Prosecutors fought against the delay, saying that the defense has known about the trial start date since July of last year and that both sides were in agreement since that time.
In addition, prosecutors said there has been enough time and money spent on preparing for the case already -- billing $250,000 already to the government through the defense's discovery process.
Meanwhile, the defense has made two motions -- one which was denied and the other which was granted.
The judge denied an October request for expert assistance to examine media coverage and the effects it could have on the case.
However, a request for expert assistance for a fair jury selection was granted. The defense wanted to make sure they would be able to find a fair way to select an unbiased jury for the murder trial.
The trial is expected to last about two months at the Texas Army post. Military jurors will be brought from Fort Sill, Okla.
Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. He faces the death penalty or life without parole if convicted in the November 2009 shootings.
The 41-year-old Hasan remains jailed. He was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by police that day.
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