As jury selection officially began in the “workplace violence” trial of the Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly Fort Hood shooting rampage, Maj. Nidal Hasan on Wednesday told potential jurors he supports the Taliban and a radical Islamist who killed a U.S. soldier.
Appearing on Fox News Wednesday, Fort Hood survivor Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford blasted Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department for allowing the incident to be labeled as “workplace violence” rather than the act of terrorism it clearly was. Because of the distinction, the brave men and women who were injured in the terrorist attack are not eligible for decorations, such as a Purple Heart, or combat-related benefits.
“Not only am I disappointed, I’m embarrassed. Mr. Holder needs to understand the repercussions of his actions…that’s a proven fact that he is a terrorist,” he said. “For Mr. Holder to even make a suggestion from the Department of Justice going to DoD’s business, that’s not his lane.”
Lunsford then pointed out that Holder has “never served in uniform.”
“Has he ever visited our troops in theater? So maybe he might want to go to Afghanistan to visit our troops so he can get an up-close-and-personal feel of the reason we are doing the job that we are doing before he decided to make a decision that he is making that is just preposterous,” he added.
“For Mr. Holder, every time he goes home and he shuts his door and he lays down to go to sleep and he can do that in peace, he needs to understand that he’s able to do that because of the blood that’s being shed by service members on foreign soil,” Lunsford scolded.
The constant delaying of the Fort Hood trial, Lunsford explained, represents “justice denied” to him and the other survivors.
“I just want justice served,” he said.
Watch the interview via Fox News below:
Fox News reports that the Fort Hood massacre was “immediately labeled by the government’s primary counterterrorism center as a terrorist attack, a former top security official testified Wednesday — even though the Defense Department would later describe the 2009 shooting in the context of ‘workplace violence’.”
The shooting left 13 dead and wounded more than 40 others.
Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is serving as his own attorney in his military murder trial, participated as nine of the remaining 14 Army officers in the group were questioned individually. Four more potential jurors were dismissed, leaving 10 – but some of those could be dismissed later. A new group of six will be questioned when jury selection continues Monday.
On Tuesday, six from the first group of 20 potential jurors were dismissed after all were questioned by the judge and prosecutors, but not by Hasan.
Hasan, 42, faces execution or life without parole if convicted in the rampage that left 13 dead and nearly three dozen wounded on the Texas Army post on Nov. 5, 2009.
Hasan told one colonel that Abdulhakim Muhammad, sentenced to life in prison for the June 2009 fatal shooting of a soldier outside a Little Rock, Ark., military recruiting station, was his “brother and friend.” Muhammad, who converted to Islam in college, has told The Associated Press that the shootings were an act of war on the U.S.
In answering Hasan’s questions based on jury questionnaires they filled out about a year ago, several potential jurors said they had negative views of Muslims, the Quran or Shariah, the Islamic legal and religious code. But they said they could put aside those views and only consider evidence in the case – including a colonel asked by Hasan if “the fact that I do believe the Quran justifies killing” would prevent him from being a fair juror.
The military judge, Col. Tara Osborn, told Hasan several times to rephrase his questions and avoid mentioning his beliefs and referring to himself as the shooter, saying he is acting as an attorney during jury selection. She reminded him that he was not testifying.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.