Lawyers representing the family members of those killed and injured in the Ft. Hood shooting rampage were outraged today when an Army judge limited prosecutors from introducing evidence, including emails to a known Al Qaeda operative, that would establish accused shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan's "jihadi" motives.
The judge's rulings could inhibit the ability of the victims' families to claim in a civil suit that the shootings were an act of terror. Federal lawyers involved in the civil suit claim that the people shot during Hasan's murderous rage were victims of workplace violence, a designation that could sharply limit the damages in a civil suit.
"This is first degree mass murder case and motive is absolutely relevant to prove premeditation," said Neal Sher, a lawyer representing many of the victims and their family members in a separate civil suit against the government.
Prosecutors have sought to portray Hasan as a Muslim extremist, motivated by Islamist ideology and in touch with known al Qaeda member Anwar Alwaki.
"He didn't want to deploy and he came to believe he had a jihad duty to murder soldiers," lead prosecutor Col. Steve Henricks said in his opening statements. He wanted to "kill as many soldiers as he could."
The judge, Col. Tara Osborn, ruled today that prosecutors could not mention Hasan's correspondence with Alwaki, an American born al Qaeda recruiter and organizer. Osborn also barred prosecutors from mentioning Hassan's interest in seeking conscientious objector status and drawing parallels to a 2003 incident in which another Muslim American soldier attacked U.S. troops in Kuwait, according to the Associated Press. Read the full article via Yahoo! News...