Nidal Hasan’s attorney admitted his client collected nearly $300,000 in his military salary while awaiting trial for the Islamist-fueled 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, but said that nearly all of it has been given to charity — likely making it impossible for his victims to get any of it.
“The great bulk of his income has been donated to charity,” said John Galligan, who also once represented Hasan in the criminal case. “There’s really virtually no money in any bank that I’m aware of. There’s really no property holdings.”
The money would likely only be a fraction of what Hasan’s victims and their relatives still need. Some have struggled to find jobs or pay medical bills since Hasan killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others when he opened fire inside a crowded building on the Texas military base on Nov. 5, 2009.
But his salary carries symbolic value.
“It’s not about the amount. It’s about principle,” said retired Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford, who was shot seven times by Hasan and testified at his trial. “During this time the man was incarcerated, he was still drawing full military pay, full military benefits. That money was spent on him, and we were denied — still — certain benefits.”
Lunsford wants Hasan’s salary to go into a scholarship fund for victims’ children. He also is among the victims suing the government to get the shooting characterized as a terrorist attack rather than workplace violence.
But whether they can get any money from Hasan is unlikely, according to the military, Galligan and a lawyer for the victims. Along with a lack of bank accounts tied to Hasan, FBI agents found little more than a table, a folding chair and a prayer mat in his apartment after the shooting.
Given his rank as major, Hasan collected more than $7,000 a month in salary; Texas doesn’t collect a state income tax. His paychecks were revoked 14 days after he was sentenced to death last month, per Army regulations. But his case had dragged out for nearly four years, in part because he was forbidden to plead guilty to charges after prosecutors refused to take the death penalty off the table.