YNN's Sebastian Robertson reports from Fort Hood in the video above.
Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage, was back in court Tuesday for his first pretrial hearing in more than three months.
His trial was scheduled to begin back in March, but a series of appeals regarding military grooming policy pushed it back nearly ten months.
A major factor in the delay is the defendant’s beard. Hasan’s team argues the beard is a part of his religious freedom, but the previous judge ruled that it is in clear violation of Army grooming code.
That judge, Col. Gregory Gross, eventually ordered his beard be removed. Hasan’s defense team appealed that decision and at the beginning of December, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces removed Judge Gross from the case.
On Tuesday, the new presiding judge over the case, Col. Tara Osborn, asked Hasan outright if he understood that his beard violated military policy to which he replied, “Yes.”
Before the hearing, Judge Osborn was asked dozens of questions by the defense about her knowledge of the case. The judge said she needs time to "grasp the scope" of the case, and tentatively said they will meet again in January.
The defense submitted 20 motions they would like reconsidered by Judge Osborn. These range from the use of a "media consultant" during the trial to a change of venue.