Exclusive: Fort Hood shooter's attorney says crime was not 'workplace violence'

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," October 13, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST: Joining me now, John Galligan, the Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan's attorney. While Hasan defended himself at a 2013 military trial, Mr. Galligan had served as his attorney for nearly five years. And you, sir, are the man to whom this letter in its original form was handed with instructions that you deliver it to the pope, to your sister and to our own Catherine Herridge. And I ask you, having read the full thing, whether this makes clear as so many of his communications have, that this was not a case of workplace violence, that this was jihad plain and simple.

JOHN GALLIGAN, ATTORNEY TO NIDAL HASAN, FORT HOOD SHOOTER: Well, I don't know where they come up with the term workplace violence. I've been in the Army 30 years, been in the practice of law for almost 35 years.

Workplace violence is not the crime for which he was charged. It is not a punishable offense under the UCMJ and it's certainly not an aggravated factor that would warrant the death penalty. Nidal Hasan was charged with mass murder.

KELLY: Not terrorism.

GALLIGAN: No. They could have elected to proceed along that line, but the government chose not to.

Although, during the course of the trial, a lot of the evidence that they presented seemed to suggest, or they wanted the jury to believe that there was a terrorist base to that.

KELLY: You've met with him repeatedly. You've represented him. You've been with this case from the beginning.

GALLIGAN: Correct.

KELLY: Is there any doubt in your mind -- I mean, let me ask you this way, finish this sentence. He murdered 13 people and shot 30 others because he believed…

GALLIGAN: By his acts that he would be saving the lives of women and children in foreign land, Muslims, who in his opinion were subject to being killed because of American policy.

KELLY: And that's why he wanted to argue that the reason he did it was in defense of others, which the judge shut down. But is there any doubt in your mind that this is somebody who believes in the jihad? He believed that his weird version of Islam mandated that he do this?

GALLIGAN: I believe you correctly stated what is.

KELLY: OK. And yet, the judge shut that down. And the question I have for you is why then to this day does the government deny that this was jihad? That it was terror?

GALLIGAN: I simply can't answer that. I mean, I've had discussions with the plaintiff's attorney in the civil case, and he and I are in agreement about most of the facts.

You know, there were two trials at stake. There was a trial involving Nidal Hasan, very little to dispute about the facts in that case. Also on trial was the Army. I remain convinced to this day that had Nidal Hasan been killed, the Army spin on this whole incident would have been completely different.

KELLY: Because you say the Army was warned. They were warned repeatedly that he was becoming more radicalized.

GALLIGAN: And that's not just me. Senators Collins and Lieberman couldn't make that conclusion in the report. The Army, for whatever reason they decide they want to keep this under the guise of workplace violence, but at the same time they want to pursue the death penalty. Both of those are big mistakes.

KELLY: To this day, you say he's not as interested in legal briefs as he is in asking you for what kind of documents?

GALLIGAN: Well, religious documents, books dealing with proper foods to eat, Halal foods, commentators on the Koran, and he encouraged I share a lot of this with you know, my sister.

KELLY: Your sister who is a nun?

GALLIGAN: That's correct.

KELLY: OK. This is very interesting. Now, he has been sentenced to death.

GALLIGAN: Correct.

KELLY: Will that likely be carried out?

GALLIGAN: I don't believe it will.


GALLIGAN: Well, the Army has a terrible track record when it comes to the death penalty. Eighty percent, approximately 80 percent reversal rate since the day these tragic events in November of 2009, already three people have come off death row, and 11 more. Most of them have had their sentences changed to life without the possibility of parole.

The last Fort Hood case where there was a death penalty involved, involved a soldier named Loving. He's been on death row for over 23 years.

KELLY: If they were -- if he were to let his appeals play out and they were all denied and the conviction and the death sentence stood, how would it have to happen?

GALLIGAN: It would have to be approved by the president.

KELLY: The president himself would have to approve of it.

GALLIGAN: Correct. Like I say, Loving's been on death row for 23 years. I would venture to guess if we were to submit any of the current cases except for Nidal's, which is not right for presidential decision, I don't think the president would.

KELLY: Final question. Has he expressed any remorse to you ever?

GALLIGAN: I can't say that it was remorse in the traditional sense. I think he feels that he didn't accomplish what he believed was his --

KELLY: So remorse that he didn't kill more people?

GALLIGAN: Well, no. That he wasn't more effective in getting people to believe that, in his trial, I think he really was hoping he'd be able to demonstrate that the millions of people out there in the world who like him believe that American policies are improper and that life under Islamic law, Sharia law, is more preferable to what he currently has.

KELLY: It's incredible. John, I thank you for being here. All the best to you.

GALLIGAN: Well, I hope Fox News continues to follow this case. You've done a good job on it so far.

KELLY: Thank you, sir, and my best to the sister.

GALLIGAN: Praying for you.

KELLY: Amen to that.

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