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Judge denies some evidence in Fort Hood shooting trial
Question of the Day
A military judge has blocked several pieces of evidence that prosecutors said would help explain the motives of the soldier accused in the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, but she has allowed several others, including Internet searches he made days before the attack about killing innocent women and children, fatwas and jihad.
The judge, Army Col. Tara Osborn, on Monday rejected some material as dated, prejudicial and potentially confusing, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Col. Osborn said that an academic presentation that Army Maj. Nidal Hasan made in 2006 about whether Muslim soldiers should be required to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan is open to interpretation and too old to be used to cast light on his state of mind at the time of the shooting years later.
The judge also rejected as dated evidence that Maj. Hasan, an American-born Muslim and a trained psychiatrist, had inquired about conscientious objector status before deploying.
She rejected prosecution requests to submit emails Maj. Hasan had written, saying the redactions required by court rules would make them meaningless.
There was no discussion in court about to whom the emails were addressed, but official reports into the shooting have noted that he sent emails to al Qaeda preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni-American propagandist for the terrorist network.
But Col. Osbor did say she would allow evidence about Internet searches Maj. Hasan had made and Web pages he visited before the shooting.
Maj. Hasan's own words, in a letter sent to the local paper and published at the weekend, are that he "was defending my religion," when he shot and killed 13 people.
In the letter, Maj. Hasan said Islam would prevail over other religions as well as over democracy, and that replacing Muslim holy law, or sharia, with secular government was "not acceptable."
"We are imperfect Muslims trying to establish the perfect religion of All-Mighty Allah as supreme on the land," Maj. Hasan wrote, referring to al-Awlaki as "my teacher and mentor and friend" and signing the letter "SoA," an acronym for "Soldier of Allah," or "Servant of Allah."
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About the Author
Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...
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