With his court martial on mass murder charges set to begin next week, Ft. Hood gunman Maj. Nidal Hasan has fired his court appointed attorney and told the judge he wants to defend himself, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Jeffrey Addicott, an expert on military law at St. Mary's University and a former Army legal adviser, says the judge, Col. Tara Osborn, will have no choice but to grant Hasan's request at a hearing next week.
"If he wants to fire his counsel, she has no choice," Addicott told 1200 WOAI news. "He can fire his counsel, he can represent himself pro se."
Addicott says if Hasan 'doesn't want to work with his counsel, he has the right to fire him."
Hasan is facing 13 specifications of premeditated murder in connection with a shooting spree at the post in November of 2009. 32 people were wounded in what is the worst mass shooting ever a U.S. military post.
"He has been advised by his lawyers all along," Addicott said. "He fired his civilian lawyer as you know, and they were trying to look out for his best interests."
Hasan 'parted ways' with Killeen attorney John Galligan in 2001. Galligan has not commented on the reasons for the split. Hasan is now represented by Lt. Col. Kris Poppe, a court appointed defense attorney.
The court has postponed the start of jury selection in the case, which was supposed to begin next week, until June 5.
Addicott says the saying attributed to Abraham Lincoln applies here, "a man who represents himself has a fool for a client."
"He does not know the legal system, and he will not do a good job representing himself in the legal system," he said. "This will not be seen favorably by the jury. The officers will be urged not to let this prejudice them in their thinking."
But Addicott said representing himself will allow Hasan more opportunity to use the public venue of his court martial to spout off gibberish about 'jihad.'