More than 150 large steel storage cargo crates have been placed in stacks as high as three stories tall surrounding the military court where Hasan will be prosecuted in a court-martial set to begin Aug. 20.
Hasan, 41, could face the death penalty for 13 charges of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder stemming from the Nov. 5, 2009, mass shooting on post.
During Wednesday’s pre-trial hearing, lawyers for Hasan and the government continued to spar over the prosecution’s intention to call terrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann as a witness and enter into evidence a 50-page report he created on Hasan.
The report is said to refer to Hasan as a “contemporary violent extremist” and a “lone wolf” terrorist, the defense said.
The language is similar to that used in a recently published FBI report examining the agency’s actions surrounding the Fort Hood shooting. It made public emails between Hasan and former al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed last year in a drone strike in Yemen.
Defense attorney Maj. Christopher E. Martin questioned why the government would inject that kind of language into the trial.
“This is a murder case that the government intends to bury in the rhetoric of terrorism,” Martin said.
Kohlmann’s testimony would show the incremental steps that led Hasan from being merely a devout Muslim to a radical willing to murder for extremist beliefs, prosecutor Maj. Larry Downend said. However, Downend said he was not sure if the prosecution would ask Kohlmann to refer to Hasan as a terrorist.
To combat that testimony, the defense asked Judge Col. Gregory Gross to fund two expert witnesses.
One would work to discredit Kohlmann’s methods and testimony. The other would be a religious expert who would explain how attitudes change when someone becomes more religious.
“Religion is essential in this case, and it is going to be front and center,” Martin said.
Gross reserved judgment on the defense requests and ordered the prosecution to provide an outline of the testimony they intend to compel from Kohlmann by Friday.
The judge also granted two defense requests for additional funding for experts.
Gross agreed to allocate $130,000 to pay a punishment mitigation specialist. It would bring the total payout to date for mitigation specialist Tim Semmerling to $480,000.
He also granted an unspecified amount of further funding to a jury selection expert.
That expert will review questionnaires of a jury pool that has now been whittled down to 110 U.S. Army officers from across the nation, but the larger portion of money would be spent as the expert observes a jury selection process that could take weeks.
Hasan’s next pretrial hearing is scheduled for Aug. 2 at 10 a.m.