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Fort Hood shooting suspect’s lawyers question jury selection

By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times –

HOUSTON — Attorneys for the Army psychiatrist charged in connection with the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood questioned the jury screening process during a Friday hearing.

Maj. Nidal Hasan’s attorneys said they want to interview Fort Hood’s commanding general and staff judge advocate about their screening process for potential jurors.

The military judge, Col. Gregory Gross, ruled that the attorneys could question the officials together, according to The Associated Press and a statement released by Fort Hood officials.

But the judge denied a defense request for information about jurors who didn’t make the jury pool. The judge also denied a defense request to interview the Army’s public affairs staff about software used to analyze media reports and their request to access the personal library of government expert Evan Kohlmann, a terrorism expert.

The court-martial is scheduled to start Aug. 20 at the base about 70 miles northwest of Austin, Texas.

Hasan faces the death penalty if convicted in connection with the shooting rampage; 13 people were killed and 29 were wounded in the attack.

Hasan was not in court Friday, viewing the proceedings instead on a closed-circuit feed from a nearby courtroom, according to the Fort Hood statement. The judge has ruled that Hasan’s beard violates military grooming standards and that he cannot appear in court until he shaves.

At the next hearing, scheduled for 10 a.m. CDT July 12, the lawyers will discuss what questions to include on a questionnaire that might be sent to prospective jurors.

Military officials initially said the jury would be drawn from Fort Sill, Okla., but after that was made public the judge decided to bring in jurors from several Army posts, including Fort Hood.

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