A pre-trial hearing for accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan was postponed Friday after the judge ruled the defendant’s beard was in violation of the Army’s grooming standards.
It was the first time Hasan, accused of the 2009 mass shooting rampage that left 13 dead, had appeared in court with a beard, MSNBC reported. Because Hasan is still considered an active-duty soldier who has retained his military rank, he is required to remain clean-shaven when in uniform or civilian clothes.
“It is a disruption. The judge felt it was,” Fort Hood media officer Chris Haug told MSNBC. ”He’s in violation of the Army’s dress and grooming standards,”
According to CNN, Hasan’s defense attorneys have indicated they will request an exception to the policy to their client’s religious beliefs. Hasan is an American-born Muslim.
The hearing had been to determine whether the U.S. government should pay for an expert neurologist for Hasan, whose mental health has been much at the center of the case, CNN reported.
Hasan is set to go on trial August 20. The military has charged him with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. He faces a possible death sentence if convicted.