The Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people and wounding 32 others during a shooting at Fort Hood has reportedly been paid more than $278,000 since the 2009 incident.
U.S. Department of Defense officials confirmed to NBCDFW.com that Maj. Nidal Hasan’s salary cannot be suspended unless he is proven guilty in the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting in Texas, citing the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Jury selection in his trial is scheduled to begin May 30.
If Hasan, 42, had been a civilian Defense Department employee, Army officials could have suspended his pay after just seven days, NBCDFW.com reports.
A military judge refused to delay Hasan’s trial earlier this month after his attorneys sought to postpone the court-martial to Sept. 1. Hasan’s attorneys claimed military jurors may be influenced by national media coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings that compared the two Muslim suspects -- Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev – to Hasan.
Prosecutors countered that the delay was unnecessary because Hasan was mentioned only briefly in some news reports about the April 15 attacks in Boston.
Hasan faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.
The White House and Pentagon have refused to characterize Hasan's attack as terrorism, instead terming it “workplace violence.” The victims have been denied Purple Hearts and are suing the military because they claim the "workplace violence" designation gives them diminished access to medical care and financial benefits normally available to those whose wounds are designated as "combat related."