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Hasan stays stubborn on shaving, charged with contempt of court

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TWC News: Hasan stays stubborn on shaving, charged with contempt of court
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Unshaven, yet dressed in his Army uniform, Maj. Nidal Hasan was wheeled into court Friday morning, escorted by military police officers.

"It's clear I gave him an order to shave his beard several times," Chief Circuit Judge Colonel Gregory Gross said.

In a previous hearing, the judge found Hasan in contempt of court. Judge Gross fined Maj. Hasan $1,000, further ordering the bearded defendant to return to court cleanly shaven.

The judge told defense attorneys to make it clear to Hasan that that he has an, "opportunity to shave his beard now." Following a brief meeting at the defense table, the defendant shook his head.

"I again find Major Hasan in contempt of court," Judge Gross said. "For his willful disobedience."

Defense attorneys presented arguments before the court that Hasan is not being disruptive to the court proceedings for not shaving his face. Defense Attorney Lt. Col. Kris R. Poppe told the judge his client has no intention of removing his beard because he is practicing his Islamic faith. It is common practice for Muslims not to shave, especially during the Islam holiday of Ramadan.

Judge Gross ruled on the motions to allow attorneys to hire two expert witnesses to assist in Hasan's defense.

One of those experts, Lewis Rambo, Ph.D. is expected to testify for Hasan regarding the "Psychology of Religious Conversion." The attorney will attempt to show the alleged shooter's state of mind in the months, possibly years, leading up to the deadly 2009 rampage that left 13 people dead and dozens injured.

Prosecutors are expected to present expert witnesses who will try and paint a picture that Maj. Hasan is a "contemporary violent extremist" or "homegrown terrorist."

An independent review of the FBI's investigation after the shooting revealed agency shortcomings in identifying Hasan as a threat. A redacted copy of the report will be used in court, the judge ruled Friday.

Hasan is expected back in court Aug. 9. The judge says all pending motions will be settled at the end of that proceeding.

Before the end of Friday's hearing, the judge told Hasan that there is a "standing order to shave," which will remain in affect indefinitely.

The trial is expected to begin Aug 20.

TWC News: Hasan stays stubborn on shaving, charged with contempt of court
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Earlier -- Maj. Nidal Hasan returned to military court Friday morning unshaven, again, prompting the judge to charge him with contempt of court.

Judge Col. Gregory A. Gross said he was disappointed in Hasan’s “willful disobedience,” to not upkeep his appearance to military grooming standards. Judge Gross has asked Hasan to shave several times, but his defense attorneys say their client has no intention of removing his beard because he is practicing his Muslim beliefs by growing facial hair during the Islam holiday of Ramadan.

Hasan, the accused shooter in the 2009 deadly rampage on Fort Hood’s Army post that killed 13 and injured dozens, simply shook his head no when Judge Gross gave him another opportunity to shave on the spot Friday. Hasan was charged with contempt of court and now faces a $1,000 fine.

Hasan's defense attorneys asked the judge for so they could gather a defense expert witness to testify to the judge the religious meaning behind Hasan’s refusal to shave. That request was denied.

Hasan’s attorneys then countered Gross, citing they wanted to conduct discovery on matters related to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but that request was also denied.

However, the judge said he would consider another request from the defense to gather all previous pleadings regarding Hasan’s religious beliefs for the judge.

Jury selection for Hasan's trial is set to begin Aug. 20. Ramadan ends Aug. 19.

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