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Hasan's defense wraps up in seconds

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By The Los Angeles Times
Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 8:03 p.m.
 

FORT HOOD, Texas — The Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 in a mass shooting on this Army base nearly four years ago declined to testify or to call witnesses in his defense on Wednesday.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, 42, has been representing himself at his court-martial for the past two weeks. Military legal experts had not expected Hasan to testify because he would be limited to answering questions and subject to cross-examination by prosecutors.

Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 of attempted premeditated murder in connection with the Nov. 5, 2009, attack.

Prosecutors rested their case on Tuesday. They argued that before the shooting, Hasan, an American-born Muslim, had been trying to avoid deployment to Afghanistan and was motivated by radical religious beliefs to plot to kill soldiers, although the trial judge, Col. Tara Osborn, refused to admit much of the prosecution's evidence regarding Hasan's motive.

Hasan has admitted to the shooting but defended his actions, saying he attacked deploying soldiers to protect Taliban leaders overseas, an argument the judge ruled Hasan could not use as a defense.

Prosecutors called nearly 90 witnesses, but Hasan had listed just two possible defense witnesses: Tim Jon Semmerling, a lawyer and mitigation expert, and Lewis Rambo, a professor at San Francisco Theological SeminaryHas considered an expert on religious conversion.

Last week, Hasan removed Semmerling from his witness list after the judge made clear that prosecutors would be able to review Hasan's previous communications with the expert. On Tuesday, Hasan said he had removed Rambo from the list, too.

The judge, however, required both experts to be on hand. She reminded Hasan that he could still call them both as witnesses. Hasan said he understood.

Then the judge called the jury in.

“Maj. Hasan, you may proceed,” she said.

“Defense rests,” Hasan said.

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