Fort Hood suspect sought to protect Taliban

Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - 9:51am

FORT HOOD, Texas (CNN) -- Fort Hood massacre suspect Army Maj. Nidal Hasan argues that he sought to protect Taliban leaders during a shooting rampage at the sprawling Texas military base that killed 13 people.

Representing himself against murder charges, Hasan explained his "defense of others" strategy at a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday without offering details, according to a statement from the military base.

That prompted the military judge overseeing the long-delayed court-martial to give him a day to present any facts to underpin his case, the statement said.

Judge Col. Tara Osborn will at that time consider Hasan's request for a three-month delay to further prepare his arguments.

A devout Muslim who opposed the war in Afghanistan, Hasan is charged with opening fire on military personnel at Fort Hood in November 2009. Thirteen people were killed and more than 30 others were hurt.

Hasan fired his private attorney in 2011 and recently said he did not want military attorneys to represent him. Osborn ruled Monday that he could represent himself but that military lawyers would help him.

Jury selection was set to begin Wednesday, but Osborn has put that off until Monday.

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