Standby lawyers can't take over Fort Hood case

AP News
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Posted: Aug 27, 2013 6:47 PM

FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — Military lawyers ordered to help Maj. Nidal Hasan as he faces the death penalty for the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage aren't being allowed to take over his case.

The penalty phase of Hasan's trial is underway. It's his last chance to address jurors before they decide whether to sentence him to death.

But on Tuesday, he rested his case without calling witnesses or testifying.

That prompted his standby attorneys to ask to take over. They say he isn't presenting evidence that could convince jurors to sentence him to life in prison, such as good behavior in jail and his offer to plead guilty before trial.

But the judge, Col. Tara Osborn, denied their request. She says that while ill-advised, Hasan has the constitutional right to represent himself.