Fort Hood shooter willing to share key evidence with prosecutors

In this Aug 6, 2013 file courtroom sketch, military prosecutor Colonel Steve Henricks, right, speaks as Nidal Malik Hasan, centre, and presiding judge Colonel Tara Osborn look on during Hasan's court-martial on Tuesday, Aug 6, 2013, in Forth Hood, Te
In this Aug 6, 2013 file courtroom sketch, military prosecutor Colonel Steve Henricks, right, speaks as Nidal Malik Hasan, centre, and presiding judge Colonel Tara Osborn look on during Hasan's court-martial on Tuesday, Aug 6, 2013, in Forth Hood, Texas. -- FILE PHOTO: AP

FORT HOOD, Texas (REUTERS) - The United States (US) Army psychiatrist who admitted killing 13 soldiers in a 2009 shooting rampage at a Texas army base offered on Wednesday to share with prosecutors a confidential and potentially damaging report in which he said he wanted be a martyr.

The offer could further weaken the defence of Major Nidal Hasan, 42, who is acting as his own attorney in a court-martial on 13 charges of premeditated murder and 32 charges of premeditated attempted murder.

Standby defence lawyers assigned to assist Hasan have said they believe he is actively seeking the death penalty.

In the medical report in question, Hasan told a panel of evaluators he had hoped to die while carrying out "jihad" because it would signal God had designated him as a religious martyr.

Hasan has already told the jury "I am the shooter," saying he "switched sides" in what he considered a US war on Islam.

The military judge, Colonel Tara Osborn, had yet to rule whether prosecutors could have access to the full, 49-page sanity report, and it remained unclear whether the jury of 13 military officers would see it.

The so-called sanity board report, also known as a 706 form, assesses whether Hasan was fit to stand trial. Previously, prosecutors had only seen a redacted version of an unknown number of pages.

"You can't find a more confidential document in the entire case file than the 706 long form," said Mr James Culp, a prominent defence lawyer for defendants in the military justice system.

Hasan gave prosecutors the opening to use the 2011 report against him by authorising civilian lawyer John Galligan to leak the report to The New York Times, which published the images of three pages of the report online on Tuesday.

Mr Osborn told Hasan he may have waived his right to keep the report private by leaking it. When the judge asked if he wanted to share it with prosecutors, he said: "I released it to the media, so yes."

Hasan opened fire on fellow soldiers in a Fort Hood medical facility on Nov 5, 2009, eventually being shot by military police. Paralysed from the waist down, he attends court in a wheelchair and rarely cross-examines witnesses.

"I'm paraplegic and could be in jail for the rest of my life," Hasan told the panel of military mental health experts."However, if I died by lethal injection I would still be a martyr."