Why isn’t he required to use the $278,000 in salary he’s been getting since he massacred 13 soldiers and wounded 32 others? Most likely, this Muslim terrorist’s only motive in representing himself is a desire to use the trial as a showcase for his anti-American Islamic jihadist rants.
Miami Newsday Jury selection is set to begin Wednesday, and the trial is slated to begin July 1. If convicted, Hasan faces the death penalty.
The judge had little choice but to allow Hasan’s request after a doctor testified Monday that Hasan’s paralysis won’t have a significant impact, legal experts say. But the situation raises concerns for some. Will Hasan attempt to use the trial to advance a platform of jihad? What sort of defense will he be able to provide himself? And what does it mean for victims in the shooting, some of whom will now have to face a cross-examination by their alleged shooter, and many of whom are also concerned about their safety. Hasan’s trial invites comparisons with that of Zacarias Moussaoui, the would-be 9/11 hijacker who also represented himself at his trial and pleaded guilty to conspiring to kill US citizens. Mr. Moussaoui, who is currently serving a life sentence, used his defense to justify his actions, to pontificate against the US, and at various times to threaten both the judge and jury.
“I expect Hasan to follow that pattern,” says Jeffrey Addicott, director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio. There’s no other reason for a defendant in a case like this to forgo counsel, he adds. Want your top political issues explained? Get customized DC Decoder updates.
“Clearly when you represent yourself in case of this nature, it’s not because you’re trying to avoid the death penalty or get the panel to agree you’re not guilty,” says Professor Addicott. “If you’re motivated by radical Islam to murder, which he was, it’s no surprise that he’s going to want to use this trial as a platform to advance radical jihad…. He’s hoping to inspire other would-be jihadists that are in our nation.”