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Accused Fort Hood gunman's request for a trial delay denied

Bell County Sheriff's Office / Reuters

Nidal Hasan, charged with killing 13 people and wounding 31 in a November 2009 shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas, is pictured in an undated Bell County Sheriff's Office photograph.

An Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 and wounding nearly three dozen others at a Fort Hood, Texas, military post in 2009 has been denied a trial delay by a judge.

Major Nidal Hasan, 42, who has been allowed to represent himself, had requested a three-month postponement to his trial so he could prepare more. Military Judge Col. Tara Osborn refused the request Tuesday, and said jury selection was set for July 9 and was expected to last for four weeks; testimony will start Aug. 6 at the earliest. 

Hasan's court martial has been sidetracked numerous times by questions over his legal representation and the beard he has, which violates military dress code. Opening statements had been scheduled to begin on July 1.

Most of those killed in the shooting four years ago at Fort Hood, a staging base for deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, were military personnel. Hasan was shot four times by civilian police after the attack.

Hasan, who was born in the U.S. and is Muslim, could face the death penalty in the trial. He has been charged with 13 counts of first-degree murder; 32 others were wounded.

Osborn ruled last week that Hasan could not use as a defense that he carried out the base shooting in an attempt to protect Taliban leaders in Afghanistan.

According to witnesses, a gunman in an army combat uniform opened fire in a packed medical building on Nov. 5, 2009, stopping only to reload his weapon. 

None of the victims posed an “immediate imminent threat” to Taliban personnel in Afghanistan, the judge said.

Although Hasan is representing himself, Osborn ordered his three former defense attorneys to remain on the case and to offer assistance to him if he requests help.

Hasan's trial was initially slated for March 2012, but was delayed twice because defense attorneys said they needed more time to prepare. It was delayed a third time last fall when Hasan appealed an order from then-judge Col. Gregory Gross that his beard be forcibly shaved if he didn't remove it before his trial. 

Gross was ousted from the case and his order was thrown out, and court proceedings resumed in December with the current judge.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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