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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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August 23rd, 2013
08:49 PM ET

Families, victims' attorney: Fort Hood shooting should be labeled act of terrorism

Major Nidal Hassan wanted to plead guilty right off the bat. The justice system in a military he turned against got in the way but Friday, a jury finally convicted the Army psychiatrist on 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder in the November 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood.

Hasan targeted soldiers who were set to deploy to Afghanistan. Hasan represented himself in the case and did not mount a defense at all after the prosecution called nearly 90 witnesses and presented hundreds of pieces of evidence.

His standby attorney tried to bail half-way through the trial, saying it was morally wrong to represent someone who’s essentially on a suicide mission.

In fact, Hasan started the trial by telling the jury, “I am the shooter.”

Ft. Hood victims' attorney Reed Rubinstein said his clients were “ pleased” by the verdict, though “it’s certainly not the end to their search for justice."

"It’s the end of the beginning.”

Joshua Gadlin, the husband of Amber Gadlin who was shot in the attack and testified against Hasan during the trial, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that the verdict brings a lot of closure to 13 families who lost loved ones. Gadlin said this attack should be labeled as an “act of terrorism" - A distinction, Rubinstein said, is significant to the families, as they would get Purple Hearts and other benefits.

“In the end of the day is about recognizing their sacrifice and admitting this was a terrorist attack,” he told Tapper. “This was terrorism, it should be treated as such and the victims should be treated accordingly.”

Hasan could face the death penalty and has said they he wants it.

Rubinstein says among the families he represents, there is no consensus on whether Hasan should be put to death.

“There’s quite a number that would like to see him pay the ultimate price and see him go wherever he is going to go, others take a slightly different view.”

Rubenstien said the Senate did an investigation in 2011 blaming political correctness for the Army’s failure to act on signs, like communication with al Qaeda leaders, that Hasan would commit some sort of attack.

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