LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Today the judge in the court-martial of accused Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan is expected to say what she is going to do about a rebellion in her courtroom. A team of Army defense lawyers told her yesterday they want to be released from their responsibilities. NPR's Martin Kaste reports.

MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: The defense lawyers asked to be excused because they think Hasan is purposely trying to lose this trial. Hasan actually fired them in May, but the judge made them stay on to give him technical help as he represents himself. Now the lead defense lawyer says that arrangement does not work.

Texas Tech law professor and former Army lawyer Richard Rosen says the defense attorney is in a difficult spot.

RICHARD ROSEN: He thinks it's ethically improper for him to serve as a standby counsel for someone who's seeking the death penalty when his role should be to ensure that he does not get the death penalty.

KASTE: Hasan denied this, calling it, quote, "a twist of the facts." But when he tried to explain in open court yesterday, the judge cut him off, then cleared the courtroom so she could talk privately with him and the defense lawyers. Hasan is accused of opening fire at Fort Hood in November of 2009, killing 13 people. Martin Kaste, NPR News.

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