FORT HOOD -- Military judge Col. Gregory Gross held Maj. Nidal Hasan in contempt Wednesday morning and ordered the accused Fort Hood gunman to pay a $1,000 fine for Hasan’s continuing refusal to shave off his beard.
Hasan, who has shaved his head, but not his beard, was in the courtroom for the ruling Wednesday morning instead of sequestered in a nearby trailer watching a closed circuit feed of the proceedings, as he has throughout the summer because of his refusal to shave.
Gross also ordered Fort Hood's Directorate of Emergency Services to bring to court any necessary equipment to shave Hasan, should the judge decide to order him shaved.
Gross said he would order Hasan to be clean shaven by the time his court-martial begins on Aug. 20.
Hasan's defense team argued that Hasan has not shaved because he is observing Ramadan, an Islamic holy day, which started July 20 and ends Aug. 19, one day before Hasan's trial is set to begin.
Defense lawyers told the judge Hasan has told them he knows his death in imminent and wants to observe Ramadan to honor his impending death.
Security was heightened Wednesday at the court building because Gross anticipated bringing Hasan back into the courtroom.
Gross said if Hasan continues to refuse to shave, he will be ordered back to the trailer and said he would force Hasan to shave at some point.
Gross told lawyers he wanted to have Hasan in the courtroom because he thought having the defendant sequestered in another room might increase Hasan's chance of successfully appealing his case.
During the hearing Wednesday Gross granted a defense request for an additional $130,000 for a mitigation specialist and for additional funding for a jury expert.
Another hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Aug. 2.
Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the November 2009 shooting rampage at the post’s Soldier Readiness Center.
He could be sentenced to death if convicted.
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