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Defense Attorneys Temporarily Halt Fort Hood Court Martial

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) J.D. Miles
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(court sketches by: Brigitte Woosley)

(court sketches by: Brigitte Woosley)

FORT HOOD (CBS 11 NEWS) – Major Nidal Malik Hasan’s former defense attorneys interrupted his court martial Wednesday morning. The lawyers say they are concerned the accused Fort Hood mass murderer wants to receive the death penalty.

A motion, filed by the defense team once used by the Army Major, has lawyers asking that their role be expanded, since during the first day in court Hasan admitted to being the shooter who killed 13 soldiers and wounded 31 others in November of 2009.

“It becomes clear that his goal is to remove impediments to the death penalty,” said Lt. Col. Kris Poppe, one of the standby defense counsel assisting Hasan.

Defense lawyers told Judge Col. Tara Osborn it would be unethical to continue the court martial after watching Hasan admit guilt then decline to cross examine any of the government’s witnesses, during proceedings on Tuesday.

“It’s repugnant to what a defense counsel and a defense team can do,” said Poppe.

Hasan objected to the motion and told the judge he disagrees with the attorney’s assessment that he wants a death sentence. No American soldier has been executed since 1961.

Before the trial began, the judge granted Hasan’s request to act as his own attorney but the three military lawyers who previously represented him during hearings have remained by his side and on standby in case Hasan changes his mind.

The judge is taking the motion under consideration. Court will be in recess until 9 a.m. Thursday, while judge privately hears motion from Hasan’s former attorneys.

Before the motion was filed, more survivors of the deadly mass shooting were expected to take the stand today.

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