Finally responding to a request for disclosure of evidence that had been filed in early December, the US Army agreed to provide Defense Counsel with the type of evidence that is routinely made available in other cases. The release of information, however, is subject a “gag order” issued by the Special Court-Martial Convening Authority, Colonel Morgan M. Lamb, which prohibits the Defense from inadvertently or purposefully “divulging, publishing, or relealing, either by word or conduct” the belatedly disclosed information. Needless to say, Army prosecutors have had access to this same information for the past several months. The belated disclosure to the Defense and the accompanying “gag order” is evidence that the pretrial discovery process is not being conducted on an even playing field.
Published: December 27, 2009
Even before President Barack Obama flew into Fort Hood for the memorial service for 12 dead soldiers and one civilian, Galligan had already been doing what the military trained him to do during his 30-year career. He was working on behalf of his client.
He was undeterred when he appeared on national news talk programs and absorbed barbed remarks from commentators. He always stayed on his message that he was representing Hasan because every soldier deserves a fair trial.
His words from an NPR broadcast reached Mark Trautwein, his former roommate at Georgetown University, where he earned an undergraduate degree in foreign relations. Trautwein said after hearing his old friend’s voice he felt compelled to write Galligan even though the two had not spoken in more than 35 years
12:00 AM CST on Sunday, December 13, 2009
By LEE HANCOCK / The Dallas Morning News
BELTON, Texas – CNN’s Wolf Blitzer barked at John P. Galligan on national TV, demanding to know how a retired colonel and Army judge could defend anyone accused of slaughtering fellow soldiers. On Fox, Greta Van Susteren told the rumpled lawyer that he had the lousiest legal job in America.
Attorney John P. Galligan represents Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who is accused of killing 13 people and injuring dozens more during a shooting spree Nov. 5 at Fort Hood.
Yet Galligan says defending the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 12 soldiers and a civilian and wounding dozens at Fort Hood may be his last, best case.
The lawyer says he agreed to defend Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan for the same reason he has spent nearly four decades in military courtrooms, as prosecutor, defense attorney and military judge.
“I love soldiers,” he says. Jutting his chin and squinting through thick glasses, he speaks of their sacrifices. Justice depends, he contends, on fair treatment even for soldiers accused of the most horrific crimes. “We owe them.”
For years, soldiers in trouble have found their way to Galligan’s limestone office at the southern edge of downtown Belton. The 60-year-old lawyer seldom turns anyone away.
One Fort Hood officer says Galligan has represented so many of his men that he’s on retainer to the battalion. At Bell County’s jail, where Fort Hood soldiers are held pending military trials, jailers joke that Galligan’s phone number must be scrawled on cell walls.
“Just fighting the good fight,” Galligan tells colleagues who ask how he’s holding up.
Dozens of witnesses saw Hasan pull two pistols and gun down colleagues on Nov. 5. He fired hundreds of rounds before civilian police returned fire and wounded him four times, leaving him paralyzed. A U.S.-born son of Palestinian immigrants, Hasan had told relatives he wanted out of the Army. Colleagues recalled his saying that Muslim soldiers shouldn’t have to fight fellow Muslims.
Yet Galligan didn’t hesitate when one of Hasan’s brothers saw him quoted in a news report and called from overseas to ask him to take the case. Even the worst accusations are only accusations, Galligan keeps telling reporters. Even the most unpopular soldier deserves a fair trial, he says.
“He cares. And he tries so hard,” says Kim Anderson Stewart of Denton. Galligan recently defended her son, a three-time Iraq combat veteran with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress syndrome. The soldier was sentenced to seven years in state prison for aggravated assault after shooting his wife in the face with a pistol – an incident that the couple insisted was an accident.
“I don’t understand it, really, because he could be enjoying his retirement and playing on the farm with his wife,” Stewart says of Galligan. “He’s always working – seven days a week. He just wants to help these soldiers. It’s like it’s his mission.”
By BEN CASSELMAN and MIGUEL BUSTILLO
BELTON, Texas — The retired Army colonel hired to represent the alleged Fort Hood gunman has handled the defense in several high-profile military cases and has a national reputation for successfully defending soldiers being tried on serious charges.
None of John P. Galligan’s clients have been under as much national scrutiny as has Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people last week and wounding dozens at the Fort Hood military base in Texas.
CBS Television NetworkJohn P. Galligan appeared Tuesday on TV after meeting with Maj. Nidal Hasan, the man suspected in the deadly shooting at Fort Hood last week.
Mr. Galligan said in an interview that he is concerned it will be difficult for Maj. Hasan to get a fair trial because of the intense publicity generated by the shooting, as well as by the memorial service attended by President Barack Obama and other dignitaries on Tuesday.
“You’ve got to worry any time you’ve got something this high visibility,” he said in his office in Belton, a small city close to the base. “The fact that we had this assembly of so many senior people, it’s a factor that I’m going to have to consider.”
Mr. Galligan said it was far too early to talk about his strategy in the case, noting that he had been on the case for just 24 hours, after being hired by family members he wouldn’t name. He said he doesn’t yet know what Maj. Hasan will be charged with, where he will be tried, or even whether he will be tried in military or civilian court.
Mr. Galligan would say little about his client, with whom he met for about half an hour Monday, except to say that Maj. Hasan is coherent. Maj. Hasan also has a lawyer appointed by the military, Maj. Chris Martin, who Mr. Galligan said was the senior defense counsel at Fort Hood.
Suspected Fort Hood Shooter’s Attorney Has Long History
in Army Law, Says Client ‘Coherent’
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
State Bar of Texas
Retired Colonel John P. Galligan
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s attorney is retired Col. John P. Galligan, who has a long history practicing Army law and last served as Chief Circuit Judge at Fort Hood in Texas.
Galligan said on CBS’ “The Early Show” that he assured Hasan he’ll be fairly treated in the military courts system and his rights will be respected, according to the AP.
Galligan said Hasan, 39, was lucid and knew he was a suspect in the mass killings, “but there were no formal charges that I could discuss with him.” The two met on Monday.
Galligan said Tuesday he thought it would be difficult for Hasan to get a fair trial at Fort Hood in Texas “given the national media attention that has been focused” on the massacre, which left 13 dead and more than two dozen wounded.
Hasan is suspected of opening fire the afternoon of Nov. 5 at a military processing center for soldiers coming back from and heading to war in Afghanistan or Iraq.
At the time of Galligan’s 2001 retirement, he was serving as the Chief Circuit Judge, 3rd Judicial Circuit, at Fort Hood.