FORT HOOD, Texas -- An Army psychiatrist charged with gunning down Fort Hood soldiers waiting to deploy to Afghanistan said Tuesday his defense would show that he was compelled to do so because the troops posed an imminent danger to Taliban fighters.
The military judge asked Maj. Nidal Hasan if he has evidence to support his "defense of others" strategy, hinting that it could be thrown out.
The "defense of others" defense requires him to prove the killings were necessary to protect others from immediate danger or death.
The court-martial had been scheduled to start with jury selection Wednesday, two days after Hasan was granted his request to represent himself. Hasan, an American-born Muslim, then requested a three-month delay to give him more time to prepare his defense. The military judge, Col. Tara Osborn, was to rule Wednesday on that request. Osborn said jury selection would now start no earlier than Monday.
Hasan, 42, faces the death penalty or life without parole if convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the 2009 attack at the Army post in Texas.
At a hearing Tuesday, Osborn asked what evidence he had to support his defense. He said Taliban leader Mullah Omar and "leadership of the Taliban in general" were in immediate danger from American troops on the Texas Army post, because "the U.S. has attacked and continued to attack the Taliban." Osborn quickly interrupted Hasan, a day after telling him that he could not make speeches or try to testify when questioning witnesses.
Military law experts not involved in the case said they believe the judge won't allow Hasan to present that defense.