KILLEEN, Texas — A lawyer for the Army psychiatrist accused in a deadly shooting spree at Fort Hood said Monday he asked investigators not to question his client and expressed doubt that the suspect would be able to get a fair trial, given the widespread attention to the case.
Retired Col. John P. Galligan said he was contacted Monday by Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's family and was headed to an Army hospital in San Antonio to meet Hasan.
"Until I meet with him, it's best to say we're just going to protect all of his rights," Galligan said.
Hasan, 39, is accused of opening fire on the Army post on Thursday, killing 13 people and wounding 29 before civilian police officers shot him in the torso. He was taken into custody and eventually moved to Brooke Army Medical Center, where he was in stable condition Monday and able to talk, hospital spokesman Dewey Mitchell said.
Galligan said he didn't know if Hasan had been medically cleared to talk.
"There's a lot of facts that still need to be developed, and the time for that will come in due course," he said.
Authorities won't say when charges would be filed or if Hasan would face military justice.
Galligan questioned whether Hasan could get a fair trial in either criminal or military court, given President Barack Obama's planned visit to the base on Tuesday and public comments by the post commander, Lt. Gen. Robert Cone.
"You've got his commander in chief showing up tomorrow," Galligan said. "That same kind of publicity naturally creates an issue as to whether you find a fair and impartial forum, whether that's in the military or even if it were in a federal forum."
Authorities say Hasan fired off more than 100 rounds at a soldier processing center. Fifteen victims remained hospitalized with gunshot wounds, and eight of those were in intensive care.
Authorities continue to refer to Hasan as the only suspect in the rampage, but they have said they have not determined a motive. A spokesman for Army investigators did not immediately respond to calls and e-mails seeking comment Monday.
A radical American imam living in Yemen who had contact with two 9/11 hijackers praised Hasan as a hero as a hero on his personal Web site Monday.
The posting on the Web site for Anwar al Awlaki, who was a spiritual leader at two mosques where three 9/11 hijackers worshipped, said American Muslims who condemned the Fort Hood attack are hypocrites who have committed treason against their religion.
Awlaki said the only way a Muslim can justify serving in the U.S. military is if he intends to "follow in the footsteps of men like Nidal."
"Nidal Hassan (sic) is a hero," Awlaki wrote. "He is a man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people."
Two U.S. intelligence officials said the Web site was Awlaki's. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence collection. Awlaki did not immediately respond to an attempt to contact him through the Web site.
Hasan's family attended the Dar al Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Va., where Awlaki was preaching in 2001. Hasan's mother's funeral was held at the mosque on May 31, 2001, according to her obituary in the Roanoke Times newspaper, around the same time two 9/11 hijackers worshipped at the mosque and while Awlaki was preaching.
The Falls Church mosque is one of the largest on the East Coast, and thousands of worshippers attend prayers and services there every week.
Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, outreach director at Dar al Hijrah, said he did not know whether Hasan ever attended the mosque but confirmed that the Hasan family participated in services there. Abdul-Malik said the Hasans were not leaders at the mosque and their attendance was normal.
Fort Hood officials said the country's largest military installation was moving forward with the business of soldiering. The building where Hasan allegedly opened fire remains a crime scene, but a processing center is scheduled to reopen Thursday in a new, temporary location.
Command Sgt. Maj. Arthur L. Coleman Jr. said Monday that reopening the center is an important step in returning the Army post to normal. Cone said the post stepped up security, including suspending visits by the public, largely to reassure the population that the sprawling base is safe and won't "become a battlefield."