Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged in the 2009 Ft. Hood shooting… (Bell County Sheriff's Department…)
HOUSTON -- A military judge ruled Thursday that relatives of accused Ft. Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan can be compelled to testify, potentially facing contempt charges if they refuse.
Several relatives of Hasan, 42, have said they will not testify, but the ruling forces them and other listed witnesses to do so or face possible charges, a Ft. Hood spokesman told the Los Angeles Times.
The Army psychiatrist is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in connection with the Nov. 5, 2009, mass shooting at the sprawling base in central Texas. After repeated delays, the trial is expected to start within weeks.
The military judge, Col. Tara Osborn, denied several other defense motions Thursday, including requests that would have granted the defense a media expert, further delayed the trial and allowed Hasan to plead guilty to lesser charges to avoid the death penalty (a request Osborn previously denied).
Hasan’s lawyers argued that the trial should be delayed because national news media had drawn unfair comparisons between last month’s Boston Marathon bombings and the Ft. Hood shootings.
The judge delayed jury selection, now expected to start as soon as May 30 and last about four weeks, with opening statements likely to begin in early July. The government has nearly 300 witnesses, and testimony is expected to take months.
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