Defense Attorney: Hasan Won't Plead Guilty, May Use Insanity Defense

Atty says Maj. Hasan may face additional charges, is paralyzed from chest down.

November 22, 2009, 12:07 PM

Nov. 22, 2009— -- The defense attorney for accused Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan told "Good Morning America" Sunday that his client will probably plead not guilty and that an insanity defense is possible.

"I anticipate that the plea will be not guilty," said defense attorney John Galligan.

Asked if he was considering an insanity plea for his client, who faces 13 counts of premeditated murder, Galligan said, "I'm fairly confident that that's going to have to at least be examined. And that's problematic. But we haven't reached that stage yet."

Galligan said he has also learned that his client, who will be tried in a military court, may face additional charges for the Nov. 5 shooting spree in Fort Hood, Texas. He said he was alerted to the new charges during a pre-trial confinement hearing before a military magistrate held in Hasan's San Antonio hospital room Saturday.

After the hearing at the Brooke Army Medical Center Saturday, Galligan said his client is paralyzed from the chest down and is a not a flight risk. The military magistrate ruled that Hasan will stay at Brooke Army Medical Center for now, but the military has the option of moving him to another medical facility or to jail.

According to Galligan, Hasan is paralyzed, is incontinent and "in severe pain."

"He is an individual in need of constant medical attention," Galligan said. "He has no sensation from his chest down."

Previously, Galligan had said Hasan was paralyzed from the waist down. Galligan questioned the speed with which the legal process is moving.

"In the 36 years I've dealt with military justice cases," Galligan said, "this is the first time I have ever had to go to an ICU to conduct a hearing."We could have conducted this hearing next week. He is paralyzed. He is not going on leave."

Galligan, a retired Army colonel now in private practice, said the hearing lasted a little over an hour. According to Galligan, Hasan is coherent, "is able to speak with me, at least for short periods of time," and understands that legal proceedings are underway and such proceedings as the hearing will grow more frequent.

Galligan said he does not expect the Army to move his client from Brooke AMC immediately, but he does want to know when Hasan might be moved and where he might be moved. Hasan's official change in status from pre-trial restriction to pre-trial confinement, which was the subject of the Saturday hearing, also limits the number of people who can visit him.

"He is still a patient, but he is also a pretrial confinee," Galligan said. "There was not a compelling government interest to change his status at this time."Given that condition, why is he anything but a patient?"

Hasan was transferred to Brooke AMC Nov. 6, a day after the shooting. He was taken off a ventilator Nov. 7. The following day, when investigators tried to interview him, he refused to answer questions and requested a lawyer.

Galligan, whose private practice is in nearby Belton, Texas, met with Hasan for the first time Nov. 9. He has asked that his security clearance be reinstated so that he can review all the evidence against Hasan.

Galligan told "Good Morning America" that he is defending Hasan because he has spent "a large portion of my military career and post-retirement career" representing soldiers.

"I'm proud any time I have an opportunity to defend an American soldier or officer in a court martial proceeding," Galligan said. "Mayor Hasan is presumed innocent of these charges."

Military prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty.

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