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Colonel reverses stance, asks for Hasan sanity review

By Larry Shaughnessy, CNN Pentagon Producer
  • Lamb now wants a sanity review for Maj. Nidal Hasan
  • Hasan is accused of killing 13 people in a shooting at Fort Hood
  • Lamb said the defense indicated it may raise mental competency issues
  • Galligan said he's told his client not to cooperate

(CNN) -- The officer overseeing the criminal case against the former Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood is now asking for a sanity review for the defendant "without further delay," according to a memo obtained by CNN Tuesday.

The request comes one week before Maj. Nidal Hasan's Article 32 hearing, a key pre-trial procedure in which the first public testimony is given in the case. Hasan is charged with 13 counts of murder in connection with the November 5 shooting at the Army's largest base, located in central Texas.

His civilian attorney, John Galligan, told CNN he has instructed his client not to talk to anyone connected with the sanity review, and he called the sudden push for the examination part of an Army attempt to "distract" him as he prepares for the upcoming hearing.

Lamb had indicated in January that the military would not "meet with, test or examine" Hasan until after the Article 32 hearing. But in the memo obtained by CNN, Lamb said he reversed his decision after the defense said in court last month that it may introduce that the mental capacity evidence for consideration in the case -- after previously saying it would not raise the issue of mental capacity or competency.

Galligan denied the defense had made such a statement. He said he also objects to the military mental health professionals who make up the "sanity board" and would be charged with evaluating Hasan. The attorney said the current members of the board may not be objective, including one who was on the faculty of the medical school while Hasan was a student.

A representative at Fort Hood for Lamb said the matter is up to the colonel, and the defense had no say in the decision to have the board examine Hasan.

The Article 32 hearing is named after the section of military law that mandates it. It's similar to a civilian grand jury proceeding, but is open to the public and both the defense and prosecution can present witnesses and evidence.