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The trial of Muzzammil Hassan: Day 9

BUFFALO -- The murder trial of of Muzzammil "Mo" Hassan has wrapped up its ninth day in Erie County Court.

Hassan, 46, is accused of stabbing and beheading his wife, Aasiya Zubair Hassan, at an Orchard Park television station on Feb. 12, 2009.

Judge Thomas P. Franczyk has allowed Hassan to represent himself.

Check out this review of today's proceedings:

6:24 p.m.: Before the end of the court session today, Franczyk agreed to sign a number of subpoenas for witnesses Mo Hassan wants to call to the stand.

Those people include Dr. Gary Horwitz, a psychiatrist who did a mental evaluation of Hassan.

Prosecutors have said things that Horwitz testifies to would not be favorable to Hassan's defense.

Others who will be subpoenaed are a secretary at Bridges TV, where Mo Hassan and Aasiya Hassan worked; Mo Hassan's primary physician; a marriage counselor who held sessions with the couple; Dr. Kenneth Condrell, who evaluated the Hassan family in a family court matter; a private detective who did work for the Hassan's and who tracked Mo Hassan down for Aasiya when he was staying in a local hotel.

The judge said he would not sign subpoenas for a domestic violence counselor for Catholic Charities who worked with Mo Hassan or an FBI employee who was the instructor at a citizens academy Mo Hassan attended.

Franczyk also would not sign a subpoena for an attorney who represented Mo Hassan in a family court matter, nor a former assistant chief of the Orchard Park Police Department.

Mo Hassan wants to recall to the stand his older children Michael and Sonia, but Franczyk reserved judgement on whether he would sign subpoenas for them.

***

6:08 p.m.: Here's Mo Hassan's legal advisor Jeremy Schwartz speaking with reporters after today's session wrapped up:

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5:34 p.m.: Judge: "I've run out of gas, so we're going to adjourn until tomorrow."

Check back for more about the subpoena debates.

***

5:22 p.m.: Still discussing subpoenas.

***

5:08 p.m.: The judge is reviewing a list of requests from Mo Hassan for subpoenas.

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4:50 p.m.: Judge asks jury to come back tomorrow at 9:45 a.m., to shoot for a 10 a.m. start. They are excused.

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4:47 p.m.: Mo Hassan wants to hand the jury his various diagrams. The judge says that would take too long.

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4:46 p.m.: Judge says session will proceed until 4:50 p.m., when he has some matters to take up with counsel.

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4:45 p.m.: Mo Hassan refers to "evil dragon" again, talking about his wife's actions towards him.

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4:43 p.m.: Judge: "It's getting overly repetitive now."

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4:42 p.m.: Mo Hassan is showing the jury a diagram he drew of a pendulum which showed the range of the ways he was treated by his wife.

It went from her rubbing olive oil on his feet after they swelled up from flying on a plane, to her exploding at him.

***

4:40 p.m.: Mo Hassan is showing the jury a written list, which includes "everything that has happened to me up until that point."

***

4:38 p.m.: Mo Hassan is trying to get some of his writings entered into evidence, including a sketch of something the judge called a concept of some type of dragon.

"That is my creation. It does not come from any book," Hassan testified.

***

4:30 p.m.: Mo Hassan wants to enter into evidence a journal he began keeping in September 2006.

He said he started keeping it "to get in touch with my own reality as to what was happening to me."

He also wanted to "help Aasiya break through her denial of the abuse" he was suffering.

Judge reserves ruling until he can review it all.

***

4:25 p.m.: Mo Hassan said he got an attorney, a counselor and began staying at a hotel after the proection order was put in place.

"It ended up costing me $20,000 just to clean up that mess," he told the jury.

***

4:20 p.m.: While the protection order was in place, Aasiya came to see him in Toronto at a hotel, Mo Hassan claims.

***

4:16 p.m.: Mo Hassan said the protection order came from his wife, who claimed Hassan "stabbed her in the back" when he shared her emails to him with a counselor.

He said he had then felt a great feeling of helplessness, because he came "back home with so much hope and this is what i come home to."

Mo Hassan said he took 10 sleeping pills, but they didn't work because he was "too big for them."

That was the closest he came to committing suicide, he told the jurors.

Because of the protection order, he could only see his children through supervised visits, he said.

"The experience is so humiliating, you feel like a criminal seeing your own children that you love," Hassan said.

***

4:11 p.m.: Mo Hassan said when he returned home from a monthlong trip abroad, he was greeted with a new protection order.

He showed the jury a photo of all the gifts he bought his children on his trip. The photo is of the gifts on a hotel room bed, where Mo said he went when he got home.

***

4:08 p.m.: Mo Hassan is showing the jury photos, including one of his daughter wearing a dress he bought for her while he was in Pakistan.

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4:04 p.m.: While in Saudi Arabia, Mo Hassan said he asked God to send him guidance.

"I just don't know how to cope with this thing," he said he thought at the time.

***

4:02 p.m.: Jury allowed to return.

***

4 p.m.: Judge allows to consider allowing photos from Mo Hassan's trip to Dubai into evidence, but and says captions must be redacted if they are.

***

3:54 p.m.: The juror and Hassan have left the side meeting room.

A few moments later, the judge also returned to the courtroom.

***

3:53 p.m.: The CPS report, according to Mo Hassan, indicates Aasiya gave multiple reasons for swelling around her eyes in December 2007.

In once instance, she said it was because Mo hit her.

But none of that was entered into evidence by the prosecution, according to the judge.

"You're kind of bringing stuff in that they haven't brought in in order to debunk it," Franczyk said.

***

3:51 p.m.: The judge, Hassan and the attorneys have left the room to discuss a juror issue.

The juror has also been brought into the side room to discuss the issue.

Before that, the judge denied an attempt by Hassan to have a Child Protective Services report entered into evidence.

***

3:42 p.m.: Mo Hassan wants to enter a report from Child Protective Services into evidence.

Attorneys and judge are discussing.

***

3:39 p.m.: Judge calls for five-minute recess. Jury exits courtroom.

***

3:37 p.m.: The medical report notes Aasiya's injuries caused by "same old thing," according to prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable.

The medical note indicates Aasiya said children were present at the time, and she was trying to "block attacks."

***

3:33 p.m.: Mo Hassan said while he was out of the country in November 2007, Aasiya reported an incident of domestic violence to staff at her doctor's office.

He has entered his passport in evidence, which he says proves he wasn't there.

However, the prosecution reads the medical report, which indicates Aasiya reported the incident happened 20 to 25 days prior.

Mo Hassan seems to ignore that point.

His legal advisor Jeremy Schwartz raises his eyebrows.

***

3:21 p.m.: Mo Hassan said he got a traffic ticket in the mail five days later charging him with reckless driving.

He said the charges were eventually dropped.

***

3:18 p.m.: Mo Hassan disputes accusations that he tried to run his wife off the road during an incident in October 2007.

Hassan said his car never left his lane and he had slowed down to wave to his wife because she had her cell phone off.

"My car never ever left the lane at all," Hassan testified.

Aasiya had been on the way to the airport with the children in the car. Hassan said he was afraid she was again trying to leave with the kids, even though he acknowledged it would be ok if she went to New York City.

The plane ticket was for a connecting flight to Paris for a television conference, though there were no plans for Aasiya to actually go to Paris because funds were tight at Bridges TV, Hassan said.

Hassan said the babysitter was driving Aasiya to the airport, and she had pulled over.

He said he continued to the airport to wait for them, but waited 45 minutes and they never showed up.

***

3:05 p.m.: Mo Hassan has compared himself to a turtle, who has to go inside his shell for protection from his wife's outbursts.

His wife was unable to communicate her anger and hurt in a gentle way, he said.

She was always using personal attacks and threats that left him shaken up, he told the jury.

***

3:03 p.m.: Mo Hassan said he tried to tell Aasiya she had a dependency on police and others, and that she used them as "intimdation tools."

***

3:01 p.m.: Mo Hassan is starting up again talking about events in August 2007.

Hassan is wearing a grey suit, white dress shirt and blue tie.

***

2:59 p.m.: In the exchange between the judge and Hassan happening as we were walking into the courtroom, there seemed to be a flare up between Mo Hassan and the judge regarding rules of evidence.

"If you want to play by your rules, your'e welcome to leave," the judge said.

If Hassan elected to leave, he would not have been allowed to make his own closing statement. That would have had to be done by his legal advisor Jeremy Schwartz, Franczyk said.

***

2:55 p.m.: The jury coming into the courtroom. Mo Hassan is seated on the witness stand.

***

2:54 p.m.: Mo Hassan was asking to leave the courtroom. There appears to be some dispute over the admission of some kind of evidence.

The jury is not here.

When reporters and the public were allowed to enter the courtroom, Hassan and the attorneys from both sides were already present and talking.

***

12:53 p.m.: Hassan is expected to continue his testimony when the trial resumes.

Here's a video recap of the highlights from week two of the trial, featuring Staff Reporter Sandra Tan:

Here's Sandy's most recent story on the trial.

Check out The News' topics page for everything about the Hassan case.

--Aaron Besecker

Live chat with Sandra Tan about Hassan trial

Live chat with Jim Heaney about Terry Pegula

The News' Jim Heaney will discuss his reporting on the following story: Pegula drew violations as gas driller

The trial of Muzzammil Hassan: Day 8

BUFFALO -- The murder trial of of Muzzammil "Mo" Hassan continued today in Erie County Court.

Hassan, 46, is accused of stabbing and beheading his wife, Aasiya Zubair Hassan, at an Orchard Park television station on Feb. 12, 2009.

Judge Thomas P. Franczyk has allowed Hassan to represent himself.

Check out the day-long review from inside the courtroom:

5:40 p.m.: Listen to Hassan's legal adviser Jeremy Schwartz speak with reporters after this morning's session:

Schwartz also spoke with reporters at the end of the day. Here's that exchange:

***

5:32 p.m.: Prominent defense attorney Paul Cambria, who was in court observing the trial this morning, spoke with reporters during the lunch break.

Here's the entire exchange:

***

5:04 p.m.: Before he left the courtroom, the judge asked Mo Hassan to streamline the presentation of his narrative testimony next week.

Hassan said he expects to finish his own testimony at the end of Tuesday.

***

4:50 p.m.: Prosecutors say there's no specific date alleged for bedroom trashing, so San Diego itinerary proves nothing.

Judge closes proceedings. Jury allowed to leave.

Court will resume Monday afternoon. Jury to report at 1:50 p.m.

Judge says he expects to have case in jury's hands sometime next week, and expects to know better on Monday.

*** 

4:48 p.m.: Mo Hassan says he was traveling to San Diego on the day when Aasiya told Orchard Park police he trashed their bedroom.

Judge reviewing Hassan's documentation.

***

4:33 p.m.: The defendant is reading from a Dallas police report in which Aasiya said Mo Hassan sat on her, resulting in bruises to an arm and calf.

At this point, an order of protection was in place from March 26, 2007, Hassan said.

***

4:26 p.m.: Mo Hassan is describing a family trip to Dallas to visit members of his family.

He said Aasiya exploded at him when he said she couldn't use his GPS because he was going on a father-son road trip to Houston.

"I got kicked in the groin," he said. "She was like completely out of control."

***

4:16 p.m.: Mo Hassan tells the jury the agreement he and Aasiya signed "was out the door in two days."

***

4:09 p.m.: Mo Hassan is talking about one of Aasiya's medical reports in which she complained about tingling around the eyes.

The report, which he read in part, notes Aasiya "has had a lot of issues with her husband beating her."

***

 

4:04 p.m.: Mo Hassan told the jury Aasiya agreed to go to counseling in June 2007.

He had her sign a written agreement, which also said the couple would make decisions together and agree to not swear, use the middle finger, no sleeping in the other room, and no blocking emails or texts, among other conditions.

"I was very hopeful that out of this document that things would happen," he said.

***

4 p.m.: When discussion of the boat incident is over, prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable asks if the issue is over and if she can remove the photo from the projector on the prosecution's table.

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3:59 p.m.: Mo Hassan is describing an incident in which 16 members of the family took boat rides and a boat Aasiya was driving, she "just exploded" in anger, he said.

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3:47 p.m.: The judge tells Mo Hassan to keep in mind what he is saying and what it has to do with the events of Feb. 12, 2009, as he gives his "frame-by-frame recitation of every little thing."

"Hit the highlights," Franczyk told Hassan.

***

3:41 p.m.: Mo Hassan brings up one of Aasiya's doctor's reports from April 2007 which references a piece of glass protruding from her skin, which he says was from an earlier car accident.

The judge asks what the point is of Hassan bringing up the report.

"The point is that I didn't cause any of this," Hassan responded.

Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable replied: "No one's claiming you did."

"OK, thank you," Hassan said.

***

3:38 p.m.: Mo Hassan and Aasiya took their two younger children on a roadtrip in the spring of 2007.

He asked that Aasiya not bring up Pakistan on the trip, and Aasiya asked that he not talk about his hurt and pain.

If either of them brought up those subjects, they agreed to put $50 into one of their children's college fund each time one of the banned subjects was referenced.

***

3:35 p.m.: Mo Hassan said he learned from Internet searches how to set boundaries for conversations with his wife, Aasiya.

Those boundaries were necessary in order for communication to occur, he said.

***

3:29 p.m.: Mo Hassan is talking about what he says is Aasiya's continued attempts to get the passports for their two youngest children.

***

3:20 p.m.: Jury invited back.

The judge announces yet another response to a subpoena, this time for someone at a consulting or couseling business. The person subpoenaed, Fran Pfohl, no longer works there, Franczyk said.

Earlier this afternoon, the judge announced Suzanne Tomkins, a UB law professor, who was subpoenaed. She has told the court the subpoena was not signed by a court officer and she was not willing to testify for the defense, the judge said.

***

3:16 p.m.: The judge is back. The jury is still out. Mo Hassan is sitting quietly on the witness stand.

***

3:11 p.m.: Judge announces seven-minute break. Jury leaves courtroom.

***

3:07 p.m.: Mo Hassan has described a physical confrontation that happened between him and his son, Michael, on March 4, 2007.

Mo testified he tried to sit down with his daughter, Sonia. He suggested they go to counseling, but she refused. She threw his sleep apnea machine down the stairs, he told the jury.

He said his daughter than walked passed him, nudging him on the side, he said.

He nudged his daughter on the side, and then his son Michael punched him in the nose, Hassan testified.

After that, he punched his son, and the was a scuffle. Aasiya got a bloody nose in the incident, from an elbow by either Michael or Mo, according to Mo Hassan's description.

"For me, this was like the low point for me," Hassan said. "I felt absolutely horrible that I should not even strike Michael back."

The police had been called as the incident wrapped up in the early morning hours of March 5.

***

2:59 p.m.: After the private detective "episode," he agreed to go into counseling with his wife, Mo Hassan testified.

"I felt if I don't go, I feared what else she would do, and it's better to smooth, keep things [trailed off]," he said.

*** 

2:55 p.m.: Mo Hassan told the jury he came back from a business trip and went into hiding at a local hotel in January 2007.

While he was on the trip, Aasiya sent him an email saying she was leaving with the kids.

He didn't tell anyone his whereabouts when he got back to Buffalo, but Aasiya hired a private detective who tracked him down by his credit card transactions.

***

2:46 p.m.: Mo Hassan said his wife's therapist called him to ask him to participate in counseling, but Hassan declined.

"I felt it was like Aasiya and [the counselor] ganging up on me for the passports again," Hassan testified.

***

2:45 p.m.: Upon returning from a business trip to Chicago in early 2007, Mo Hassan said he found his oldest son, Michael, to be cold in demeanor.

It seemed to him that the only way to get his son to talk was to let Aasiya go to Pakistan, Hassan said.

***

2:38 p.m.: Mo Hassan said he felt validated when, as he claims, an Orchard Park police officer told him it was his right to keep the passports.

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2:34 p.m.: Mo Hassan said he threw his younger children's passports over Niagara Falls before the trip they were going on with their mother, Aasiya, to Pakistan.

This was on Dec. 30, 2006. Aasiya called the police when Mo Hassan took a drive in their van. Her purse was in the van, and it contained the three passports.

Mo Hassan said he left Aasiya's passport at her office at Bridges TV.

On his drive, Mo Hassan said he ended up in Rochester and spent the New Year's holiday there.

***

2:24 p.m.: Mo Hassan said he presented a list of seven things he asked Aasiya to stop doing to him.

During a meeting with her in a Buffalo hotel, she agreed to stop and said she wanted him to give her their children's passports, Hassan testified.

Aasiya also threatened to get a protection order in her attempts to get the passports, he said.

He agreed to give her passports, and he got her to agree to enter counseling.

***

2:21 p.m.: Mo Hassan said police did not take him seriously when they were called to his home on Dec. 18, 2006, after 2:30 a.m.

This was the first and last time he tried to tell his side of the story to the police, he said.

***

2:17 p.m.: Mo Hassan has resumed his narrative testimony, first referring to an account he started earlier today about the argument in Toronto.

***

2:15 p.m.: The judge has granted a request for permission for a sketch artist to come into court.

Noting that other sketch artists have attended already in the trial, the judge said "some of whom are less forgiving than others."

In other business, Mo Hassan has agreed to withdraw a subpoena for WGRZ reporter Claudine Ewing.

The jury is being brought back into the courtroom.

***

 

2:07 p.m.: Defendant Mo Hassan is still not present. Attorneys on both sides are at the bench talking with the judge.

The jury has not been brought in.

1:58 p.m.: The courtroom has been opened. Several people had been turned away because seats reserved for the public have been filled.

***

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12:45 p.m.: Judge releases jury for lunch. Trial will resume at 2 p.m. with Mo Hassan still on the stand.

***

12:38 p.m.: Mo Hassan testified he tried to get his wife to watch "Good Will Hunting" with him, because it involved issues related to counseling. Hassan said Aasiya got very mad at that.

***

12:27 p.m.: Mo Hassan said he contacted Aasiya's family in Pakistan to ask for their help trying to get Aasiya into counseling.

Aasiya would threaten a divorce, and that would scare the living daylights out of him, he said.

***

12:24 p.m.: Mo Hassan testified he never spoke up and complained about the abuse he received before Sept. 1, 2006.

"But when I started speaking up that I would like to see some changes made things actually got worse," he said.

***

12:20 p.m.: Mo Hassan said he had been living in the basement of his home, and around Thanksgiving had grown to like the solitude.

12:19 p.m.: Mo Hassan described an incident in which he and Aasiya got locked inside a bathroom in their home. They were trying to get out, and the babysitter called police reporting a loud argument and a banging noise, Hassan said.

This happened on Oct. 16, 2006, he said.

***

12:12 p.m.: The Toronto incident involved an argument in which Aasiya was pushing to travel with the children to Pakistan, Mo Hassan said.

The judge a recess is planned for 12:45 p.m.

12:04 p.m.: Mo Hassan is telling the jury about incidents in which he says he suffered abuse by Aasiya, including a trip to Toronto to visit his relatives.

***

11:48 a.m.: Mo Hassan, who has been going through emails exchanged during his courtship with Aasiya as notes during his testimony, said he is done looking through emails from the year 2000.

***

11:39 a.m.: Mo Hassan said Aasiya told him she was abused by her parents and a previous boyfriend.

The jury was instructed not to consider the alleged truthfulness of what Aasiya may have said, only what Mo Hassan said was his reaction to it.

***

11:37 a.m.: Jury comes back into court.

***

11:35 a.m.: Mo Hassan wants to talk about conversations with Aasiya regarding a previous relationship she had before they were married.

Prosecutors object, and the jury is momentarily excused.

Mo Hassan said he learned of a pattern of violence in Aasiya's life through this communication.

He said he learned about incidents in which she was the victim and others in which she committed the violence.

***

11:26 a.m.: Mo Hassan said he mistook Aasiya's "neediness" for love during their courtship. It may have been because he was coming off a divorce and it was good for his ego.

***

11:22 a.m.: Mo Hassan is talking about how he met Aasiya online on a dating site. This was when he lived in the area and she lived in Pakistan.

Mo Hassan said Aasiya would try to call him everyday, but he wanted to limit the phone conversations to the weekends when his international phone rates would decrease.

***

11:18 a.m.: Mo Hassan has referred to a doctor's report which noted Aasiya Hassan fell three times within a couple months, twice on the stairs and once on a deck, which was slippery because of rainfall.

In one of the falls, Aasiya Hassan broke her tailbone.

***

11:15 a.m.: Mo Hassan is talking about Aasiya's medical records and relating them to an accusation in divorce papers she filed that he pushed her down the stairs while she was pregnant.

He said the divorce papers was the first time he came to understand there was this specific allegation.

Mo Hassan told the jury their house was built in 1950 and had narrow stairs that were just carpeted at the time of one of the falls. He said he had fallen himself, as well.

***

11:12 a.m.: Prominent local defense attorney Paul Cambria has been sitting in the courtroom observing the trial this morning.

***

11:02 a.m.: Mo Hassan has taken a seat on the witness stand, with his legal advisor Jeremy Schwartz sitting next to him.

Three court security officers are standing behind Hassan, with another in front of the jury box.

The jury's been called back in.

***

10:57 a.m.: The jury has been momentarily excused from the courtroom.

The judge said he understands Mo Hassan's need to tell his story, but asks that he not tell his story "in real time."

He risks "stupifying" the jurors, and noted that through his work in advertising, Hassan should know the importance of a succinct message.

Mo Hassan asked the judge if he wants him to speed things up.

"Not talk fast, but be selective and to the point," the judge responded.

***

10:54 a.m.: Under cross examination, Amy Kiss said she only saw the Hassans together twice from 2006 until the date of the killing.

During that time, approximately four-and-a-half hours, Kiss said she didn't see any bruises on Aasiya Hassan.

Cross examination is over, and Kiss has left the stand.

***

10:49 a.m.: Mo Hassan is asking Amy Kiss about how she saw interactions between himself and Aasiya.

Kiss said she interacted with the couple on several occasions.

Mo Hassan also asked specifically about an occasion when she was invited to the Hassans' home in November 2008.

Kiss said she didn't notice anything "abnormal."

"I didn't think anything when I was at your home or when I left," she said. "I just thought it was a normal day, a normal interaction with everyone. Normal conversation."

***

10:42 a.m.: When asked about Mo Hassan's reputation for peacefulness in business school, here's Kiss' response:

"I didn't know of violence. I knew you as a person who attended class, semi-socially, friendly, very studious, went about your own business, in that context."

***

10:39 a.m.: Amy Kiss said she moved back to Buffalo at the start of December.

She said she is unaware of Mo Hassan's reputation in Buffalo. She said she could speak to his reputation around the time of 1994 when they were in school together.

Kiss said she was not aware of any reputation of violence at that time.

The prosecution had objected to Kiss' testimony since it was many years ago, but the judge allowed it, noting it was remote.

***

10:32 a.m.: Amy Kiss has taken the stand.

Mo Hassan said she is from Buffalo and comes back to the area around holidays.

***

10:29 a.m.: Judge Franczyk rules Mo Hassan can call this woman as a witness.

He also calls for the jury to be brought in.

***

10:28 a.m.: Mo Hassan says the female witness he wants to call would testify towards his character.

He said he has known her for 18 years, and has interacted with both him and Aasiya Hassan.

This woman went to business school with Mo Hassan in Rochester.

***

10:20 a.m.: The debate over expert witnesses continues.

Mo Hassan told the judge his legal advisor Jeremy Schwartz has called numerous doctors, looking for someone to testify on his behalf.

Hassan said he believes the doctors read the negative online media coverage of the case and "then they go away."

***

10:14 a.m.: The court has received communications from Catholic Charities and a law firm regarding subpoenas, Franczyk said. Catholic Charities has argued its subpoena does not follow criminal procedure law, and the law firm says the attorney subpoenaed has moved to Colorado.

There's more discussion about Mo Hassan's desire to have a former doctor who treated him be called as an expert witness. The doctor wrote a letter dated yesterday that she is not willing and not able to testify as an expert witness for him.

Mo Hassan says a lot of negative media coverage has affected the people he's been able to call as witnesses.

The jury has yet to be brought into the courtroom.

***

10:10 a.m.: Mo Hassan is looking to enter emails he said he wrote from his Yahoo account, but hasn't returned a form authenticating that it's his account to Yahoo. He said he found the form in a folder this morning.

Hassan said a letter from Yahoo came around the time he was switching attorneys, and asked Judge Franczyk for a little leniency in the matter.

"I'm trying to be as understanding as humanly possible," Franczyk said.

***

9:58 a.m.: Mo Hassan has been brought into court, and is conferring with his advisor, Jeremy Schwartz.

Prosecutors have wheeled in a cart holding boxes of files.

***

9:44 a.m.: Judge Franczyk is handling a few other cases before the Hassan trial starts for the day.

Jeremy Schwartz, Hassan's legal advisor, just told reporters a female witness will be called to the stand before Mo Hassan resumes his testimony today.

***

Here's the live blog from Thursday's proceedings by Staff Reporter Stephen T. Watson, which saw the start of Mo Hassan's own testimony from the witness stand.

Here's Staff Reporter Sandra Tan's full story from yesterday's proceedings. Here's a photo gallery from Mo Hassan's testimony yesterday.

Check out The News' topics page for everything about the Hassan case.

--Aaron Besecker

The trial of Muzzammil Hassan: Day 7

BUFFALO -- The prosecution rested its case Wednesday in the murder trial of of Muzzammil "Mo" Hassan in Erie County Court. The defense is supposed to begin to present its case this morning.

Hassan, 46, is accused of stabbing and beheading his wife, Aasiya Zubair Hassan, at an Orchard Park television station on Feb. 12, 2009.

Judge Thomas P. Franczyk has allowed Hassan to represent himself.

The News will follow developments in today's court proceedings below:


5:17 p.m.: Speaking to reporters after the court proceedings ended, Hassan's legal advisor, Jeremy Schwartz, said people will be able to more clearly see the connection between Hassan's testimony and the defense he is presenting as he gets further along in his testimony.

He said it is important for people to understand the state of Hassan's relationship with Aasiya, and this is what Hassan is trying to do in his testimony. He did say Hassan raised the fact that he was hospitalized for depression because "it does go to his state of mind."

Schwartz declined to comment on whether Hassan will present any other witnesses and he would not go into detail about what else Hassan plans to present during his remaining time on the stand.


5:04 p.m.: After the jury left the courtroom, prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable was able to serve Hassan and his legal advisor, Jeremy Schwartz, with motions to quash the subpoenas issued earlier today to Curtin Gable and Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III. Hassan wants Curtin Gable and Sedita to testify at his trial.

Curtin Gable is arguing that no officer of the court signed the subpoenas. Franczyk then asked Hassan why he wants Sedita and Curtin Gable to testify.

Hassan, after consulting with Schwartz, agreed to withdraw the subpoenas.

Dr. Ana Natasha Cervantes, a forensic psychologist, today faxed a letter to Franczyk saying that the subpoena issued to her is invalid for several reasons, including the fact that she has no desire to testify in Hassan's case. Hassan asked Franczyk to be able to reply to Cervantes' letter Friday, and Franczyk agreed.

A lawyer from the firm of Hiscock & Barclay, Karim A. Abdulla, representing a Buffalo News staff reporter who has covered the trial, Sandra Tan, also responded to the subpoena issued by Hassan to Tan. Abdulla also noted that the subpoena was not issued by an officer of the court, because Hassan is not an attorney, and therefore is invalid. Abdulla also wrote that he objects to the subpoena on its merits.

In response, Hassan said he would withdraw the subpoena issued to Tan and would not seek to compel her to testify, and he agreed to do the same with several judges who had received subpoenas, including Franczyk.


4:51 p.m.:: Franczyk called an end to Hassan's testimony at 4:45 p.m.

Hassan had been explaining why he was accused of sexual harassment by the couple's babysitter, who saw him in a towel coming out of the shower into his bedroom when she was unexpectedly there to pick up their youngest children.

"It's like, what am I doing wrong?" Hassan said, adding that Aasiya insisted he buy a bathrobe following the incident.

Hassan's testimony will resume at 10 a.m. Friday.


4:40 p.m.: In a frequent refrain from today's testimony, Hassan attempted to introduce another e-mail he sent to Aasiya.

Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable objected again and, once again, the judge sustained the objection. He said unless Hassan calls as a witness an employee of AOL, who could testify to the e-mail's authenticity, he won't allow it to be introduced as evidence.

"You can testify to the facts, as I've told you a couple of times. And you can use the documents to refresh your memory," Franczyk said.

Hassan said Aasiya threatened to make the police report she filed against him public, hurting his reputation and perhaps threatening Bridges TV's finances if the network's backers are put off by the accusations.

Hassan said Aasiya claimed she was being treated as a slave, and Hassan's mistreatment of her was the root cause of her outbursts. She also claimed that Hassan was still in love with one of his ex-wives.

Patricia Evans, the author of the book favored by Hassan, "Verbally Abusive Relationships," who had agreed to work with the couple, directed the couple to draft marital agreements that both Aasiya and Hassan could sign.

Aasiya refused to sign, so the couple never approved nor abided by the agreements. Hassan is trying to get one of the documents introduced into evidence, the prosecutors objected and Franczyk agreed because it was not signed by Hassan or Aasiya.


4:26 p.m.: Hassan again is trying to portray himself as the flexible spouse, the one who tried to make the marriage work and tried to make Aasiya happy.

Recalling a conversation from September 2006, he said he told her that he deserved credit for not demanding that she prepare meals, or clean the house. And he reminded her that he offered to hire a maid to do housework and she could stay home with the children if she wanted to do that instead of working outside the home.

"Your happiness is more important to me than the money," Hassan said.

He said he slept on the bed in the basement for the entire month of September 2006, because he wanted to keep his distance from Aasiya.

He said she made attempts to get him to move out of the basement. He said he could forgive her, that wasn't the problem, but he wanted her abusive behavior to stop.

He said he worried that her abusive behavior would be repeated in the behavior of their children, when they are older, because he learned through Alcoholics Anonymous and his counseling that abuse is generational. Curtin Gable objected to Hassan's statement and the judge sustained her objection.


4:18 p.m.: Hassan's testimony is frequently interrupted by objections from prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable, huddled conversations between Hassan and his legal advisor, Jeremy Schwartz and pauses as Hassan reads from documents that he isn't allowed to enter into evidence.

Hassan now is referring to medical reports, entered into evidence, from doctors and nurses who treated Aasiya and found evidence that she had been physically abused. Hassan is trying to show that the findings of abuse in the reports are flawed.

Hassan said that any black eyes Aasiya suffered are really black circles that she, Hassan and others from his part of the world have under their eyes. When he attempted to refer to evidence that he would introduce tomorrow to back up this contention, Curtin Gable objected and the judge told Hassan he doesn't need to provide a "teaser" to tomorrow's testimony.

Hassan later testified that between January 2001, when Aasiya first came to the United States, and the Sept. 2, 2006, police report, Aasiya never accused Hassan of abusing her.


4:07 p.m.: Hassan testified that in September 2006, Aasiya filed her first police report against Hassan, saying that he had punched her in the face, giving her a black eye, and had dragged her across their driveway in separate incidents the previous month. Hassan denied the allegations in the police report, but the driveway incident was witnessed by Jennifer Greer who has already testified to what she saw that day.

Hassan tried to explain away the driveway incident. Hassan said he was worried that Aasiya would leave him, taking the children, while he was on a business trip to Chicago, he testified. So he said he took the passports of their two youngest children with him, and he said she went after him in a fury, as he left the house, trying to prevent him from leaving and take back the passports. This is what Greer saw happening in the driveway that day in August 2006, Hassan testified.


3:58 p.m.: Hassan began testifying to events that took place in August 2006 around 2:20 p.m. and he stayed in this month until 3:55, when he finally made reference to an e-mail sent on Sept. 1 --- a reference to an e-mail that, naturally, raised an objection from prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable.


3:55 p.m.: Hassan once again unsuccessfully tried to raise his claim that Aasiya killed one of her brothers.

Hassan said he learned from Aasiya that Aasiya killed her older brother. Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable objected on several grounds to Hassan's attempt to address this in his testimony, and Franczyk in response cleared the jury from the room to address this line of testimony out of their earshot.

The alleged incident happened in May 1983, when Aasiya would have been around 11. Aasiya was very close to this brother, who was 11 months older. Aasiya was more of a tomboy, while this brother was softer. Hassan said the two were outside skating when they got into a fight and she pushed him onto the road, where he got hit by an incoming car, and he hit the pavement and died.

Because of this, Aasiya's mother beat her and refused to talk to her for the next six or seven years, Aasiya told Hassan, he recalled today. Hassan said he tried to reasure Aasiya that she hadn't killed her brother, that it wasn't her fault.

Curtin Gable said prosecutors talked to Aasiya's family and they confirmed this was not true and Aasiya never killed a brother. The Buffalo News also contacted Aasiya's sister in South Africa and she informed the paper that this was not true and that Aasiya has one brother who is still alive.

Hassan said the reassurance from the family, as presented by Curtin Gable, was hearsay, drawing a laugh from the audience because he had so often been on the losing end of a "hearsay" objection.

Franczyk said he didn't believe the testimony was relevant and he believes it would be inflammatory for the jury and he won't allow it to be presented by Hassan.


3:39 p.m.: The testimony at times today has seemed repetitive, as Hassan again and again refers to his purported attempts to rebuild his strained marriage, the couple's frequent arguments and his claims of abuse he suffered at Aasiya's hands.

He said eventually he reached the point where he couldn't have a conversation with Aasiya because he couldn't get his message across to her. This is when he began to write notes to her, begging her not to hurt his feelings, not to make one-sided decisions and not to make selfish demands anymore. He said these decisions and demands make him feel attacked, demeaned and devalued.

Hassan said he also gave Aasiya four articles to read. They addressed people who make selfish instead of respectful demands, who subject their loved ones to outbursts and who make unilateral decisions, among other points. In addition to the four articles, he suggested three books for Aasiya to read.

Hassan also testified that he asked Patricia Evans, the author of "Verbally Abusive Relationships," to intervene in hopes of helping their marriage. Evans requested a one-page statement from Aasiya and Hassan explaining what each person's problems with the relationship were.

Hassan was allowed to testify that Aasiya wanted Hassan to spend more time with him outside of their work for Bridges TV, to be more attentive and romantic and to help more around the house and with the children.


3:28 p.m.: Hassan has spent more than an hour testifying to events and conversations that he said took place in just one month, August 2006. He said he told Aasiya late that month that the couple should devote more time to rebuilding their relationship.

He told the court there is a word, "zidh," in their language that means essentially "selfish demands." Hassan said that in their conversations, now that they were talking again, he would chide Aasiya about her "zidhs," and he said he begged her to help him try to repair the marriage and to set aside her recently resurrected demands to visit Pakistan again.


3:21 p.m.: Hassan continues to testify about his deteriorating marriage and his efforts to save it while running into prosecutorial objections whenever he tries to reveal what someone else has told him.

He said he told Aasiya she won't be able to change until she takes responsibility for her abusive behavior.

In later summer 2006, at one point, Aasiya stopped talking to Hassan on the advice of her lawyer, and she said future interactions would have to go through her lawyer.

Hassan said he told her that her treatment of him and her refusal to communicate directly with him "was killing me."

He said he continued to try to give her examples of her abusive behavior, examples that she denied to him, such as when he claims she picked up a bottle of prescription medication and threw it across their room.

Hassan said he contacted the author of "Verbally Abusive Relationships," telling her that he was in just such an abusive relationship and asking for any advice she had. He said the author called him back, but when Hassan attempted to testify to what she told him, prosecutors again objected and the judge again sustained the objection and struck his statement from the record.


3:14 p.m.: Court has resumed following a five minute recess.

Lawyers, law students and notable elected officials have been stopping by the court to watch parts of the Hassan trial. State Supreme Court Justice Timothy J. Drury has listened to some of Hassan's testimony this afternoon.


3:02 p.m.: Hassan is still on the stand and his testimony continues to try to portray him as the victim of an abusive relationship. He said that he repeatedly tried to convince his late wife not to use inflammatory words against him, to disagree with him reasonably and to do a better job of trying to understand where he's coming from.

Any time there was any argument, Aasiya had to win, Hassan said. "There was always a win-lose," he said.

He said he talked to her about developing an attitude that would allow them to make decisions that lead to both of them winning.

He also said he shared with Aasiya an article on angry outbursts, people who have explosive tempers, and another article about people who make unilateral instead of joint decisions. Hassan testified that Aasiya never included him in her decision-making.

He said at one point he told her she had married "a broken man," one who has fears and vulnerabilities that she uses against him, and her personal attacks were breaking him down.


2:51 p.m.: Hassan has begun to testify in more detail to the abuse he claims he suffered at the hands of his late wife.

He said Aasiya would push him, grab him, slap him and grab his hair, and he testified he didn't go a single week from this time until the end of their marriage where he wasn't physically assaulted by Aasiya.

"Granted, I'm bigger and a guy, so I can walk away … but it just leaves you shaking in terms of what's going on," Hassan said.

He tried to testify that Aasiya apologized in an e-mail the day after one of their blow-ups, but prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable again objected to his reference to an e-mail that hasn't been entered into evidence.

Stymied, again, Hassan simply said that Aasiya apologized to him the next day, using her nickname for him, "King Kong."


2:43 p.m.: Hassan now is trying to introduce into evidence his travel itineraries for various trips that, he contends, show that he was out of town on certain dates when allegations were made that he was abusive to his wife.

In response to another objection from prosecutors, Franczyk said Hassan cannot testify to the authenticity of the Travelocity documents because he does not work for Travelocity, so he cannot introduce the documents as evidence but he can refer to them to refresh his memory.

Whenever Hassan refers to an e-mail, prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable objects and legal advisor Jeremy Schwartz tries to guide Hassan away from potentially objectionable testimony.

Hassan said he told Aasiya that her "threat" to walk away from the marriage, with their children, and return to Pakistan will "destroy a lot of lives."

"Every time she would play that card, I would cave in," Hassan testified, arguing that he felt controlled and not loved.


2:36 p.m.: Hassan has been stymied in his efforts to introduce into evidence, or read from, e-mails he said had been sent between himself and Aasiya. Each time he tries to read from an e-mail, prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable has objected and Franczyk has sustained her objection. Hassan has paused for five or 10 seconds at a time at some points before continuing his testimony. He frequently huddles with Jeremy Schwartz, his legal advisor who sits next to Hassan at the witness stand, before speaking.

Even though Aasiya had an earlier abortion, according to Hassan, when she became pregnant another time she did not want to have another abortion. Hassan said he did not want another child, but Aasiya was insistent in changing her mind. She called him more names, and inflicted him to more "attacks," and said he could just pay for child support to provide for the new baby, according to Hassan's testimony.

"I'm a flexible person, but it was just pound, pound, pound, pound," Hassan said, adding that he felt he had no control over his life.


2:28 p.m.: Hassan continued detailing the escalating disagreements he said he had with Aasiya, and the judge agreed with prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable that Hassan's purported e-mail conversations with Aasiya have not been authenticated.

Hassan told jurors that, beginning in 2006, he bought a bed and put it in the basement and said he slept down there at least 20 different times in the years to come, as well as another 20 times when he spent time at extended-stay hotels.

He said Aasiya became pregnant in 2006 and, that August, because she was starting the MBA program and didn't want to have another child, she decided "on her own" to have an abortion, according to Hassan.

Hassan said he began saving e-mails between himself and Aasiya around this time, and he told the jury that the e-mails would back up what he testifying about.

Hassan began reading from an e-mail dated Aug. 5, 2006. This email was marked for evidence, but not entered into evidence, so Curtin Gable objected to Hassan's reading of the e-mail.

Shown the e-mail, Curtin Gable said she objected to the introduction of the e-mail for several reasons, first that she had no way of knowing whether this e-mail is authentic.

Franczyk said he would not allow Hassan to read from a document that is not in evidence because the e-mail, and presumably others Hassan wishes to introduce, were not authenticated by an employee from his Internet provider. Franczyk said Hassan would be able to talk about conversations he had with Aasiya, and to refer to the e-mails, without reading them, to refresh his memory.


2:18 p.m.: Finally, she agreed to seek counseling, Hassan said as he continued his testimony. He continues to speak to the jury in a narrative, conversational form with no questions from Jeremy Schwartz, his legal advisor, or anyone else.

He said the couple made up at this point, and he moved back home from the hotel. Then, she changed her mind and said she didn't want to go back to counseling.

"I felt slighted," Hassan said, but he was already back home and didn't decide to move out again.

Aasiya did not like the snow and the cold weather here. She said she would prefer to move to Dallas, and felt in addition to the better weather that she would have better job prospects there.

She said, 'There were no cranes in Buffalo,'" Hassan recalled.

Hassan said this was a source of arguments because Hassan didn't want to have to move his oldest children out of Western New York and their schools.

He said both of the children wanted to stay in Western New York, and he told this to Aasiya. He said she "exploded" at this news, and complained about being stuck "in this horrible place" for about three minutes non-stop.

Hassan said Aasiya consistently complained that he and the children were holding her back.

Bridges TV had 25 employees at this point and Hassan said he didn't want to leave them high and dry with a move to Dallas.

Hassan said Aasiya's arguments escalated to hitting Hassan, slamming doors as well as the continued yelling at him and calling him names.


2:10 p.m.: The audience of spectators in the courtroom is slightly smaller for the afternoon session. There continues to be a relatively heavy presence of court officers who sit behind and to the side of Hassan as he sits at the stand.

Hassan is resuming his testimony. He said in 2005 he continued talking to Aasiya about changing her behavior and trying to emphasize to her how much he was hurt by her words and her temper. He also again unsuccessfully sought to convince her to seek counseling.

"It felt as if I was hitting a thick stone wall. I couldn't get heard at all," Hassan said.

In March or April 2006, for the first time, he said he moved out of the house to the Clarion Hotel, within a mile or two of their Hamburg home.


12:53 p.m.: Jeremy Schwartz, formerly Hassan's lawyer and now serving a more limited role as Hassan's legal advisor, told reporters after court broke for lunch that Hassan's testimony to his state of mind during his marriage to Aasiya is relevant to his defense.

He declined to say whether he had advised Hassan to take the stand in his own defense and he would not comment on where Hassan will be going with his testimony.

When asked whether Hassan would be able to produce a witness, Schwartz said, "We are speaking to witnesses now. The timing is difficult. I anticipate we may have witnesses tomorrow."

He said much of the 1,000 pieces of evidence that Hassan hopes to introduce are documents such as e-mails that may be presented this afternoon and that support Hassan's contentions in his testimony.

Another reporter asked whether Schwartz believed members of the jury would buy the idea that the marital arguments and disagreements he testified to could possibly justify killing Aasiya. Schwartz replied, "There are a lot of other things to come."


12:31 p.m.: Hassan has begun to use the term "abuse" to describe his treatment at the hands of Aasiya.

He said he read a book with the title, "Verbally Abusive Relationships," by Patrticia Evans, a book Hassan said he began to read. He said he found it enlightening and said it gave him validation.

He said up to that point most of the abuse he suffered was emotional, so it was hard for people to know he was a victim of abuse. He said it was hard for other people to see Aasiya's abuse of Hassan because most of what she said was said in their bedroom, behind closed doors.

The judge has sent the jury out of the courtroom and the trial has recessed for a lunch break and will resume at 2 p.m.


12:26 p.m.: Hassan is continuing his testimony. In 2005, on a trip to Dallas to see his family, Hassan said members of his family saw Aasiya's "explosive" temper. Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable objected when Hassan tried to talk about what his mother saw and said. Hassan said he didn't know what to do in response to Aasiya's temper and its effect on their marriage.

Hassan jumped back in time to talk about his children and his desire to have his two children from his first marriage and his two children with Aasiya to live together. November 2004, his two oldest children moved in with Hassan and Aasiya.

By this point he is working full time at Bridges TV. He said Aasiya had had a boat while living in Pakistan and she began to request that they buy one in America. Hassan said he didn't think this was wise because they were just starting the business and the oldest children soon would begin college. This prompted her to unfavorably compare their lifestyle in Western New York to her lifestyle in Pakistan.

He said she also had a gun in Pakistan, and when they would drive by a shooting range on Maple Road in Amherst she would bring up buying a gun. Hassan said he is not comfortable having a gun. He said the only time he had fired a gun was when he went through "FBI training," a statement that drew curious looks in among members of the courtroom audience. This might have been a reference to a civilian training program that the FBI offers.

At this point, Hassan said he suggested that Aasiya go through counseling to get a handle on her temper and her bouts of pouting. He said she angrily dismissed this suggestion.


12:15 p.m.: Hassan began his testimony this morning because he was not able to present any other witnesses at this time.

Today's second session began with the judge saying he would continue to bar audio-visual recording of the trial but he would allow still photography. This decision is limited to Hassan's testimony and photographers are barred from taking pictures of members of the jury.

The jury is not yet back in court but is being brought back into the room.


12:02 p.m.: "It's like if Aasiya felt hurt, she had to hurt you," Hassan said. He said she would call him a lot of "unkind names."

Hassan said another argument developed because she wanted to bring their children with her to Pakistan. He said he was concerned about their safety and didn't mind if she went alone. This prompted her to yell at him and try to belittle him, Hassan testified.

"You're nobody; you're nothing. You're just a sperm donor," Aasiya said to Hassan, according to Hassan.

The judge has called for a five-minute recess.


11:58 a.m.: Hassan again is trying to portray Aasiya as someone with a temper and very particular tastes who always insisted on getting her way. "When she goes off it's like machine gun bullets," Hassan testified.

In Buffalo, she always had to go to Kebab & Curry, a Pakistani restaurant. "We couldn't go to other restaurants," he said. In contrast, Hassan said he was the more laid-back person in the marriage and said he generally gave into Aasiya's demands.

However, he said he remained physically attracted to her and he said their working relationship was better. Hassan said he viewed Aasiya as an equal business partner and he praised her intelligence and business acumen.

The first time Aasiya mentioned divorce, Hassan said, followed an incident when Aasiya chastised her husband for not carrying up their suitcases while they were on a trip. He did not say what year this happened.


11:50 a.m.: Hassan said the couple continued to clash over her demand to travel to Pakistan every year, and her desire to work outside the home when he believed he made enough money that she could stay at home. He said she first became "physical" with him when he said he wouldn't buy her a horse to ride. He said he didn't think much of that at the time.

After she came back from a trip to Pakistan, she got pregnant and the demands for a horse went away. In another point of contention, Aasiya said she wanted their children to go to a private school, while Hassan wanted them to go to a public school. He said, in this case and others, when she would make a demand she would get emotionally attached to the demand.

He said the idea for a TV station devoted to Muslim interests, one that could build bridges between the Muslim and non-Muslim communities, came when the couple heard anti-Muslim talk on the radio while they were in their car.

Hassan said they were able to raise $6 million or $7 million in seed capital for the network, and that's when he left his job at M&T Bank to focus full time on Bridges TV.


11:42 a.m.: Hassan appears to be trying to show the jury that Aasiya can be stubborn and insistent and can display flashes of a temper if she doesn't get her way.

Aasiya finally got a visa, so she was able to join Hassan in Western New York. She had worked as an architect, but Hassan said Aasiya didn't find any good work opportunities here in that field. So, she went to work for a 7-11.

Hassan said her family has a business background, and she expressed interest in running her own business or corporate franchise. They looked at several, including Tim Hortons, before deciding to operate a 7-11 franchise.

In 2001, Hassan said, Aasiya said she wanted to go back to Pakistan to see her family again. Hassan said financially this was difficult, following the wedding expenses they had. Hassan said she kept insisting she had to go.

On a visit to Toronto to see a friend, Hassan said, Aasiya got out of their car when it was stopped at a red light. Aasiya told him she wouldn't go to the friend's dinner until Hassan bought her a ticket to travel to Pakistan. Hassan said their argument on the street corner lasted half an hour before Hassan went back to his car and called his mother for guidance. Aasiya then got back into the car and went to the dinner, though she was in a foul mood that night. Eventually, Hassan relented and bought Aasiya a ticket to Pakistan.


11:33 a.m.: Hassan continues to speak casually and evenly as he gives his testimony to the jury. He is talking more about the beginning of his marriage to Aasiya.

He said he was grateful that Aasiya was accepting of his children from his first marriage. He described the process he went through to try to get a tourist visa for Aasiya so that the couple could travel to Canada at some point. He told the jury that she became very upset at him and abruptly left the Internet cafe where they were using a computer. He said this incident gave him the idea that she had difficulty verbalizing her feelings, especially if she is upset.

He said because this was her first marriage, and his third, he decided they would do whatever she wanted. They were spending the beginning of their honeymoon in the north of Pakistan. Hassan said he felt he was more at Aasiya's mercy and that she was making more of the decisions about what they did on the honeymoon and which hotels they used.

But he said he didn't mind too much because he brought more "baggage" to the marriage than she did. Aasiya said she wanted to be alone on the honeymoon with Hassan, and he said she didn't want to see his father or his children, which hurt him.


11:25 a.m.: Hassan is continuing his narrative testimony. He is not asking himself questions and Schwartz, his attorney who is serving more as a legal advisor, is not asking him questions or otherwise speaking.

Hassan said he took medication for depression, and began reading books on the causes of depression. After reading one book, and at the advice of a counselor he was seeing, he went to a 12-step program for alcoholics. He said he did this not because he was an alcoholic, or because alcohol had caused the break-up of his marriage, but because he wanted to gain some insights into the 12-step program and how it could help him.

At the same time, when Hassan was doing an internship at Eastman Kodak and his two children were attending Sunday School in Rochester, he entered into an arranged marriage. "In hindsight it was a bit silly," Hassan said, and he believed the marriage was not a good fit for him. It was also at this time that he left Rochester to take the job at M&T Bank. He said he got an order of protection because the family of his second wife was pressuring him. Curtin Gable objected to this statement. The judge sustained the objection. Hassan filed for divorce from his second wife in 1998.

In 2000 he met Aasiya, online. He said they developed an online courtship and by October 2000 he went to Pakistan to marry Aasiya.


11:13 a.m.: Franczyk is giving the jury instructions related to Hassan's testimony in the trial. He is instructing them not to draw any conclusions based on his decision to testify at trial, while he represents himself. Court officers have placed a second chair near the witness stand for Schwartz so that the attorney can advise the defendant.

Hassan has been sworn in. He is talking to the jury. He referred to the killing of Aasiya as the "tragedy" of Feb. 12. "It is a very complex story." He is speaking slowly and explaining that he has never run afoul of the law. Curtin Gable objected to this statement, and her objection was sustained. Hassan paused for a few seconds.

"I felt all I wanted to do was someone to hear my side of the story." He said his side of the story of the couple's 10-year marriage hasn't been heard. His testimony is beginning as a personal statement.

He gave the jury some background on his personal history. He is talking about his father, and his family, saying they lived in Pakistan for the first 15 years of his life. He said he went to a British school in Pakistan and said he was a good student but he wasn't good at sports such as cricket because he was on the heavy side.

He said he went to the University of Rochester on a scholarship and earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering. After his bachelor's degree, he went to work for Proctor & Gamble. After that company, he went back to school for his MBA from the University of Rochester, which he finished in 1996. Then he worked at M&T Bank, where he served as a vice president before leaving the bank in 2004 to work at Bridges TV full time.

On the personal level, in college, he met his first wife and soon got married, in 1984, when he was 20. They separated in 1994. They had two children, his oldest children, who both testified at the trial and are estranged from their father now.

The break-up was difficult for him and he said he was hospitalized at a mental institution in Connecticut for several weeks.


11 a.m.: Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable said she and District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III were served subpoenas at 9:55 a.m. directing them to appear in court Friday. She said they will be moving to quash the subpoenas.

Prosecutor Paul Bonanno asked for a list of all the evidence Hassan intends to introduce. Franczyk asked Hassan if he has such a list. Hassan said he has the materials, but not the list. Franczyk said such a list would be helpful to provide.

Prosecutors are asking for any discoverable material related to the witnesses Hassan intends to call. Hassan said he may not be able to provide it. The jury is now being called into the courtroom, one hour after the scheduled start of the trial.


10:43 a.m.: Franczyk is asking a court officer to explain the delay to members of the jury by informing them that court personnel are marking exhibits for use as evidence. The judge's law clerk is assisting the court clerk in this task.

Hassan is representing himself in the trial but he huddles with Schwartz frequently, seeking his advice or legal opinion on matters.


10:38 a.m.: Hassan now is asking about the logistics of his testimony. He has asked Franczyk whether his attorney, Jeremy Schwartz, will be able to sit or stand close to him while he is on the stand. The judge said Schwartz would be able to be near him while Hassan is on the stand.

"I am not going to let you question yourself on the stand. I think that's absurd," Franczyk said to Hassan.

Franczyk is warning Hassan not to testify to statements or evidence that is not admissible at trial. "You can testify to facts. You can testify to things you know through personal knowledge," the judge said. The judge added that evidence he plans to introduce during his testimony should be premarked as evidence, though Franczyk worries how much extra time this will take.

Hassan told Franczyk he may have as many as 1,000 items of evidence to mark, a statement that drew a gasp from members of the audience in the courtroom. Franczyk wondered what the jury would do in the interim.

"Your honor, I thought this is where the whole truth comes out," Hassan said.

The judge said a trial is not an effort to discover some abstract truth. It is held to see whether the prosecution can prove its case, and then it is up to members of the jury to decide the defendant's guilt or innocence. Franczyk, the prosecutor and the defense, along with court personnel, continue to discuss how the trial will proceed.


10:28 a.m.: Hassan's attorney and Hassan are discussing housekeeping issues and admissible evidence with Franczyk. The jury is not yet in the courtroom, and Franczyk has just admonished Hassan for making jurors wait this long outside the courtroom.

"I don't know anything about the legal process. Sorry, your honor," Hassan said.


10:24 a.m.: The trial of Hassan has started. A line of about 30 members of the public waited outside the courtroom to grab one of the coveted seats for the high-profile trial. Only 10 were allowed into court.


Read News Staff Reporter Sandra Tan's account of Wednesday's court proceedings in "I have not done anything to hurt you since Sunday, since I saw my mistake."

See The News' entire coverage of the Hassan case at the Mo Hassan topics page.

--Stephen T. Watson

The trial of Muzzammil Hassan: Day 6

BUFFALO -- The murder trial of of Muzzammil "Mo" Hassan continued in Erie County Court today as the prosecution wrapped up its presentation.

Hassan, 46, is accused of stabbing and beheading his wife, Aasiya Zubair Hassan, at an Orchard Park television station on Feb. 12, 2009.

Judge Thomas P. Franczyk has allowed Hassan to represent himself.

The News followed developments in today's court proceedings below:

5:09 p.m.: Hassan's attorney has sent out about 40 subpoenas for potential witnesses, but might not need to call all of them to testify.

Defense attorney Jeremy Schwartz, who is now serving as a legal advisor to Hassan as Hassan represents himself, said he does not know how long the defense presentation will take.

Many of the witnesses, Schwartz said, will be unnecessary if attorneys can agree to -- or stipulate to -- allowing certain documents to be entered into evidence.

"We have had numerous pages of documents entered by stipulation just this afternoon," Schwartz said. "There may be more tomorrow morning."

Schwartz also clarified why Hassan repeatedly said this afternoon that many of those documents -- which include police reports and other paperwork -- would refer to his own "bad acts." Hassan had argued in court that the prosecution should allow the documents to be admitted into evidence because they would help their side of the case. 

Hassan, Schwartz said, was referring to a legal principle, Molineux, which allows certain prior "bad acts" of a defendant to be entered as evidence.

"Mr. Hassan has always said that he's very interested in not just some things coming out, but he wants everything to come out," Schwartz said. "And whether some things are called 'bad acts' or something else, he wants it all in."

Listen to Schwartz speak to reporters after today's court proceedings:

***

4 p.m.: Franczyk has wrapped up the court proceedings for the day. The trial is scheduled to resume at 10 a.m. Thursday.

***

3:59 p.m.:At least one expert witness that Hassan still says he will bring to the stand has told Judge Franczyk that she will not testify for him -- a point the judge made Tuesday and repeated again today.

Hassan has named three expert witnesses in response to questions about whom he plans to call.

However, Franczyk has again told Hassan that one of the potential witnesses, a forensic psychologist, has written a letter to the judge saying she will not testify on his behalf.

Franczyk told Hassan to do legal research on whether he could compel an expert witness to testify on his behalf in a criminal case.

Franczyk had a lengthy discussion with Hassan over whether the experts would be prepared to testify for him when called.

"It's not my intention to delay this case ad infinitum on the off-chance that somebody may come in," Franczyk said.

***

3:54 p.m.: Hassan has told the judge that he expects to be ready to call witnesses to the stand in the morning. 

"If not, then I'll go on the stand," Hassan told Franczyk.

Schwartz told the judge that subpoenas have been sent out and he expects to attempt to contact potential witnesses this evening. 

***

3:44 p.m.: Judge Franczyk has allowed the jurors to go home for the evening as Hassan and attorneys discuss legal matters in the courtroom with the judge.

***

3:38 p.m.: Judge Franczyk is now reviewing several records and reports that Hassan wants to submit as evidence. 

Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable has said she needs time to review the records before agreeing to allow them into evidence. 

To describe some of the documents, Hassan said: "It's more reports of my wife beating." He later described it as "alleged wife beating."

***

3:31 p.m.: Hassan has asked the judge to submit two pieces of paper from his children without calling them back to the witness stand.

The judge questioned why the defense didn't bring up the paperwork when the children, Michael and Sonia, were on the stand last week.

Hassan said he did not know why the papers were not brought up since at that point defense attorney Jeremy Schwartz was conducting the defense. Hassan is now representing himself with Schwartz serving as a legal advisor.

"I had provided all the material, but for whatever reason, it was not brought up," Hassan said.

Schwartz told the judge he was not aware of the paperwork when he cross examined the children.

Curtin Gable has argued that the trial "could go on forever" if Hassan is allowed to bring back witnesses who have already taken the stand.

Hassan, the attorneys and the judge have been discussing what evidence can be submitted and what witnesses can be called back for several minutes.

Curtin Gable earlier objected to one of the reports Hassan wanted to submit that pertained to a December 2007 stove fire.

"I don't see any relevance to that," Curtin Gable said.

Hassan responded: "Your honor, it is related because Aasiya ended up with a black eye because of that and she's been telling other people that I hit her."

***

3:19 p.m.: Hassan has had a rocky start to the beginning of his defense presentation.

He has told the judge he did not expect the prosecution to wrap up this afternoon and is not ready to call witnesses. He then gave the judge a list of witnesses he said could be called if they are in the building.

"I don't imagine witnesses will just materialize unless summoned to court by a legal process," Franczyk said after reviewing a few of the names on the list.

Hassan has now asked to submit reports from police and child protection services directly into evidence this afternoon -- a request that the prosecution has asked for time to review. 

Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable said she did not want to be forced to make a "hasty" decision regarding the admitting documents into evidence.

Hassan, however, pointed out that they were police records that included "bad acts" by himself.

"Your honor," Hassan told the judge, "They're mostly more bad acts by me, sir, to benefit them." 

The jury is not in the room as the judge, Hassan and attorneys discuss the legal matters.

Franczyk noted that some of the paperwork Hassan wants to submit have handwritten notes on them made by Hassan. 

Hassan said he did not have clean copies of the records available this afternoon.

***

3:12 p.m.: Judge Franczyk denied Hassan's request to give a statement directly to the jurors after a court reporter read back an exchange between the judge and Hassan from Monday morning.

Hassan had insisted the record would reflect that Franczyk had promised to allow him to give the statement to jurors. Franczyk disagreed.

After the court reporter read the transcript -- which did not include such a promise -- Hassan told the judge, "It was earlier than that."

"Your motion is denied," Franczyk said.

Franczyk then questioned what Hassan was prepared to do during the final two hours of the court day. 

***

3:04 p.m.: Hassan told the judge that he is not yet prepared to call witnesses in his defense because he had not expected the prosecution to wrap up its presentation this afternoon.

Instead, he asked Judge Franczyk to allow him to give a direct statement to the jurors.

"I'm not inclined to give you a second shot at an opening statement," Franczyk said.

Hassan then insisted that Franczyk had previously promised that he be able to open his defense with a statement to the jurors -- an assertion that both the judge and prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable deny. 

Hassan has now asked the judge to allow a court reporter to look through the record from Monday morning's court proceedings to determine if the judge had made such a promise.

Franczyk, who is allowing the court reporter to review the transcript, told Hassan he's pretty sure Hassan will be "disappointed" with the result of reviewing the transcript.

"There's absolutely no doubt that the court's recollection is correct on this," Curtin Gable told the judge.

***

2:56 p.m.: Sarah Murrin, a forensic serologist from the Erie County Central Police Services Laboratory, testified that a bandage found on Hassan's right middle finger on the night of his arrest had Aasiya Hassan's DNA on it.

"Is it therefore fair to say that, literally, he had her blood on his hand?" asked prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable.

Murrin answered that it was.

Murrin also testified that a mixture of DNA found on one of the hunting knives collected from the scene included DNA of both Aasiya Hassan and Hassan.

Most of the DNA, Murrin said, came from Aasiya Hassan.

Muzzammil Hassan could not be excluded as a contributor to the smaller portion of DNA on the knife, Murrin testified.

Murrin said the minor portion of DNA found on the knife was only a small amount and was part of a mixture of DNA. Because of the condition of the sample, she said, a higher percentage of people could match the DNA profile.

"Therefore, I certainly can't say that he's the source of the DNA, only that he can't be excluded as the contributor," Murrin said of the sample taken from the knife.

Murrin also testified that Hassan "could not be excluded as the contributor" to a major DNA profile found on the collar of a long-sleeve shirt found on the scene.

The DNA evidence wrapped up the prosecution's presentation, Curtin Gable said.

***

2:31 p.m.: Sarah Murrin, an Erie County Central Police Services Laboratory forensic serologist, is testifying that she tested dried red stains on two Buck hunting knives and found that the stains were blood.

One of the knives had a blade of about 5 3/4 inches, Murrin said.

Murrin said she also swabbed the blade and the handle of each knife for the potential of skin cells left on the weapon and performed DNA analysis on the swabs.

Murrin said she also tested a long-sleeved light blue striped shirt and found that dried red stains on the shirt were blood. She performed DNA analysis on a bloody section of the shirt and attempted to collect skin cells from its collar to determine who wore the shirt.

Witnesses have previously testified that the shirt and the two hunting knives were found at Bridges TV after Aasiya Hassan's death.

Murrin also described performing tests on a pair of suede shoes, an M&T Bank envelope and a bandage taken from Hassan's right middle finger the night he was arrested. The bandage, Murrin said, tested positive for blood. She was not able to obtain a DNA sample from the envelope. 

Hassan gave the envelope to his son, Michael, shortly after leaving Bridges TV on the night of Aasiya Hassan's death, Michael Hassan testified previously.

***

2:18 p.m.: Kristen Betker, a senior forensic serologist for the Erie County Central Police Services Laboratory, testified that she processed a DNA sample taken from Aasiya Hassan's body in the case.

Another forensic serologist, Sarah Murrin, has now taken the stand to discuss the sample. 

***

2:05 p.m.: The jury has re-entered the courtroom. Kristen Betker, a senior forensic serologist for the Erie County Central Police Services Laboratory, is on the stand and discussing DNA analysis.

***

12:31 p.m.: The jurors have been given a break for lunch. The trial is scheduled to resume at about 2 p.m.

Before the break, James Murphy, a confidential criminal investigator with the Erie County District Attorney's Office, introduced DNA evidence taken from Hassan. 

***

12:10 p.m.: In the hour leading up to Aasiya Hassan's death, she and her husband exchanged cell phone text messages in which Hassan appeared to plead for forgiveness.

"I am a good man, Aasiya," Hassan wrote. "A humble and decent man, made some mistakes, please don't punish me so hard. God likes forgiveness."

The message was sent about 10 minutes before Aasiya Hassan was attacked and beheaded at the Bridges TV studios as she dropped off a bag for Hassan.

The day of her death, the two discussed meeting for lunch and arranged for Aasiya to drop off clean items for Hassan at his office.

"I cannot carry on without you and family," Hassan wrote Aasiya Hassan at about 5:35 p.m. the night of her death.

A few minutes later he wrote:  "I have not done anything to hurt you since Sunday, since I saw my mistake." 

Then, two minutes later, he wrote: "You are important to me and worth changing for."

Two days earlier, a series of text messages show Hassan pleading with his wife to call him.

"Aasiya, not talking increases negativity," Hassan wrote at 11:34 p.m. on Feb. 10, 2009. "I have been so good all day. Please at least give me a chance to sleep peacefully."

She responded: "Mo, I know but it is time both of us let go. Please do not make it more difficult for both of us."

The text messages were among a series Hassan sent to Aasiya that night.

Earlier, Aasiya Hassan had sent two text messages saying she couldn't talk to him: "Mo, I would be in trouble if I do not stop talking to you."

He responded a minute later: "No, Aasiya, God is with us. Third parties scare us. We are responsible people. How much have we learned by talking."

Two minutes later he wrote: "I don't want to "fix you." Plus these are work phones."

Then a minute later: "I was really good today in giving you space and support. I think I made a mistake ... of fixing, just need clarification so I can improve."

Then: "Aasiya, please give me two minutes so I can go to sleep in peace." 

After several more messages, his final text that night was: "Aasiya, please, have some heart, two minutes, I have given you two."

Text messages between Hassan and his wife the week of her death were read aloud to the jurors by Jeff Strohm, a custodian of records for Sprint Nextel.

***

11:41 a.m.: Prosecutors subpoenaed text messages from Hassan's cell phone from the week of Aasiya Hassan's murder in February 2009.

Jeff Strohm, a custodian of records for Sprint Nextel, is now testifying about 18 pages of text messages sent and received from Hassan's cell phone between Feb. 4, 2009, and Feb. 13, 2009.

The text messages have been entered into evidence.

***

11:33 a.m.: Hassan invoked his Miranda rights not to discuss the case the night he turned himself into Orchard Park Police Headquarters after Aasiya Hassan's death, Orchard Park Police Lt. Eugene "Joe" Wehrfritz said.

Wehrfritz testified that Hassan was advised of those rights at about 8:41 p.m., and Hassan then invoked them.

"So after that, you couldn't ask for his side of the story," Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable asked.

Curtin Gable also focused on two assertions Hassan has made about his wife.

"Did he ever mention anything about a knife being pulled on him?" Curtin Gable asked.

"No," Wehrfritz replied.

"Did he mention anything about any threats made by his wife?" Curtin Gable asked.

"No," Wehrfritz replied. 

***

11:17 a.m.: Under cross examination, Orchard Park Police Lt. Eugene "Joe" Wehrfritz said that during his police career he had only seen one person accused of murder who had gone directly to the police station after the death.

"In 25 years, I only had one case where a murderer came right in," Wehrfritz said.

Hassan turned himself in to the police station shortly after Aasiya Hassan's murder. 

Wehrfritz told Hassan he thought that was unusual.

***

11:11 a.m.: Hassan has asked Orchard Park Police Lt. Eugene "Joe" Wehrfritz several questions about his knowledge of domestic violence cases.

Several of the questions focused on what Wehrfritz knows, based on the 25 domestic violence calls he has responded to as a police officer, about domestic violence -- whether men are typically the abusers, how abusers "are created" and what they fear the most.

Most of the questions have been met with objections from prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable.

Franczyk allowed Wehrfritz to answer some of the questions, but later warned Hassan that he seemed to be "taking him down the wrong road here." 

"Mr. Hassan, this is the evidence collection guy," Franczyk said. "You seem to be wanting to take him into another dimension that is beyond the scope of his expertise."

Hassan then changed his line of questioning.

***

10:53 a.m.: Judge Franczyk has warned Hassan not to ask questions that "assume facts not in evidence."

"I'm not going to allow you to just throw a fact out there that you believe to be true," Franczyk said. "Any such fact would have to come in in the proper form."

The warning came from the judge during Hassan's cross examination of Orchard Park Police Lt. Eugene "Joe" Wehrfritz as Hassan asked about a broken laptop collected by police.

Hassan had asked: "Did you discover it was Aasiya who broke that laptop in a violent rage?"

Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable objected to the question.

"Move to strike," Curtin Gable said. "This calls for hearsay. These are exactly the types of questions we discussed earlier."

Hassan has asked that the broken laptop be brought into evidence. 

***

10:48 a.m.: Hassan, in cross examination of Orchard Park Police Lt. Eugene "Joe" Wehrfritz, has focused several questions on whether the lieutenant collected any evidence that Hassan was having affairs with other women.

Hassan has focused in on several specific women and asked Wehrfritz to say whether he saw any evidence that he had an affair or "sexual relations" with them.

Wehrfritz has answered, "No, I did not," to the questions.

"Did you become aware that Aasiya accused me of having extra marital affairs?" Hassan asked Wehrfritz. 

"No, I did not," Wehrfritz replied. 

***

10:32 a.m.: Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable has asked the judge to instruct Hassan not to ask certain types of questions that would lead to hearsay.

"It is distracting," Curtin Gable said. "It is potentially misleading to the jury to have these questions asked and out there. I have to object to them every time."

During cross examination on Tuesday, witnesses were repeatedly stopped from answering questions posed by Hassan after Curtin Gable lodged objections.

Hassan has been representing himself since Monday, with defense attorney Jeremy Schwartz acting as an advisor.

"It's getting to the point where the defendant should know the rules by now," Curtin Gable said.

During legal arguments before the judge this morning, Hassan told the judge  he didn't know why Curtin Gable was afraid of the "truth" in a "place where the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth comes out."

Franczyk then told Hassan it was a matter of the truth getting to the jury in the proper way.

"It has taken her three years of law school," Hassan said of the prosecutor. "I've only had two days."

Franczyk, responding that it was Hassan's own choice to represent himself, said he had to hold Hassan to the same standard.

"I would ask that you tailor your questions accordingly," Franczyk told Hassan.

Curtin Gable also asked the judge to reflect in the record that Hassan has often consulted with Schwartz during the trial this week. 

***

10:15 a.m.: Hassan has entered the courtroom. Attorneys are now discussing legal matters before Franczyk without the jury present, including whether a divorce affidavit filed by Aasiya Hassan can be shown to the jury.

***

10 a.m.: The trial is expected to resume shortly. Franczyk is hearing arguments in other cases. 

***

9:56 a.m.: The sister of Aasiya Zubair Hassan has told News Staff Reporter Sandra Tan there is no truth to a suggestion Hassan made in court on Tuesday that Aasiya Hassan "killed her brother."

"We have only one brother," Aasiya's sister, Asma Firfirey, wrote in an e-mail. "Thank God he's alive."

Firfirey, who lives in South Africa, was responding to questions from The News about Hassan's statement. 

Hassan, during cross examination of an Orchard Park detective lieutenant on Tuesday, asked: "Have you become aware that Aasiya had killed her brother?" 

Franczyk stopped Hassan from continuing the line of questioning after the prosecution objected.

***

Read News Staff Reporter Sandra Tan's account of Tuesday's court proceedings in "Hassan cites report to support abuse claim."

See The News' entire coverage of the Hassan case at the Mo Hassan topics page.

--Denise Jewell Gee

The trial of Muzzammil Hassan: Day 5

BUFFALO -- The murder trial of Muzzammil "Mo" Hassan continues today in Erie County Court.

Hassan, 46, is accused of the stabbing and beheading death of his wife, Aasiya Zubair Hassan. Orchard Park police have said Hassan turned himself in and confessed to the killing shortly after the Feb. 12, 2009, death.

Judge Thomas P. Franczyk on Monday allowed Hassan to represent himself, with defense attorney Jeremy Schwartz at his side.

The News will follow developments in today's court proceedings below:

5:50 p.m.: Schwartz told reporters outside the courtroom tonight that Hassan appears to be getting the points he wants to convey across as he cross examines witnesses.

"It does seem to be going a little bit smoother," Schwartz said. "Mr. Hassan is getting his point across, and there is a lot of information he wants to get across, and he is having the chance to do that."

Some lines of questioning in the courtroom, Schwartz said, are more complicated than others.

"It's just the nature of questioning," Schwartz said.

Listen to Schwartz speak to reporters in this audio clip:

***

5 p.m.: The judge has dismissed the jury for the evening. Hassan has asked to continue his cross examination of Orchard Park Police Lt. Eugene "Joe" Wehrfritz in the morning.

The trial is scheduled to resume at 10 a.m.

***

4:54 p.m.: Hassan has occasionally injected comments into his cross-examination questions.

As Hassan questioned Wehrfritz about the night Hassan confessed at Orchard Park Police Headquarters, Hassan asked about the conversation the two had.

"Did you offer me a cup of coffee?" Hassan asked.

"I may have," Wehrfritz said.

"Still waiting," Hassan replied.

Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable objected to the question, which the judge sustained.

***

4:49 p.m.: Hassan began his cross-examination of Orchard Park Police Lt. Eugene "Joe" Wehrfritz by asking whether Hassan was respectful while at the police station on Feb. 12, 2009.

Wehrfritz said he was.

The lieutenant said he had given Hassan a phone book to look for attorneys while Hassan waited at the station.

Hassan also asked Wehrfritz whether he found an e-mail from Aasiya Hassan to Hassan that included a death threat when he searched the hotel room at the Clarion and Bridges TV.

"No, I did not," Wehrfritz said.

***

4:37 p.m.: Hassan had life insurance paperwork for Aasiya Hassan in the trunk of his Mercedes when he parked it at the Orchard Park Police Headquarters the night of her death.

The trunk also included a note pad, testified Orchard Park Police Lt. Eugene "Joe" Wehrfritz.

***

4:25 p.m.: Investigators who searched a room at the Clarion Hotel in Hamburg the day after Aasiya Hassan's murder found travel itineraries and bank documents.

The bank papers showed a $90,000 deposit made Feb. 10, 2009, into an account held by Hassan, Orchard Park Police Lt. Eugene "Joe" Wehrfritz testified. 

They also found Aasiya Hassan's checkbook, Hassan's checkbook and a briefcase with divorce paperwork, Wehrfritz said. The passports of Hassan and his oldest son were also in the room, Wehrfritz said.

The hotel room is where Hassan directed investigators to get his sleep apnea machine and medication after he was arrested.

***

4:16 p.m.: Hassan had a handwritten list on him while he waited at Orchard Park Police Headquarters after turning himself in the night of Aasiya Hassan's death, Orchard Park Police Lt. Eugene "Joe" Wehrfritz said.

The list included the names of attorneys, his children and other people, as well as phone numbers, places and items.

Words that appeared on the paper included "Erie County Holding Center," "home equity," "power of attorney," "life insurance" and other words.

Wehrfritz said he made a photocopy of the list and then returned it to Hassan. The list, which also had some words written in a foreign language, was shown to jurors.

"Does this appear to be a list the defendant was making while he was at the police station?" prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable asked.

"Yes," Wehrfritz replied.

***

4 p.m.: The jurors have returned and the prosecution is preparing to call its next witness, Orchard Park Police Lt. Eugene "Joe" Wehrfritz.

***

3:45 p.m.: The jurors have taken a 15-minute break.

***

3:40 p.m: Hassan, during his cross examination of Orchard Park Detective Lt. Patrick McMaster, asked McMaster whether he could determine who started a fight by looking at a bruise or a wound.

"Does a picture of a wound tell you what the argument was about?" Hassan asked, to an objection of the prosecutor.

"No, it does not," McMaster replied.

Hassan has also asked McMaster about Hassan's demeanor on the night he turned himself into Orchard Park Police Headquarters. McMaster has previously testified that Hassan was "calm" and "patient." 

Hassan asked McMaster to say whether Hassan had asked about his children that night. McMaster said he had.

Franczyk stopped the line of questioning about Hassan's demeanor when Hassan asked whether he appeared "relieved."

"That's asking him to delve a little bit too deeply into the operation of your mind at that point," Franczyk said.  

***

3:22 p.m.: Hassan, in his cross-examination of Orchard Park Detective Lt. Patrick McMaster, has tried several line of questions in which he has asked the detective what people told him about Aasiya Hassan.

Franczyk has stopped McMaster from answering most of the questions.

One of the questions -- "Have you become aware that Aasiya had killed her brother?" -- elicited a quiet gasp from several spectators in the galley. There has been no indication that is the case.

Hassan also asked whether McMaster learned that Aasiya Hassan was "dominant and forceful."

Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable has called many of the questions "back-door hearsay."

***

3:15 p.m.: Hassan has opened his cross-examination of Orchard Park Detective Lt. Patrick McMaster with questions about McMaster's knowledge of domestic violence incidents.

He has asked McMaster how many cases he has handled and whether he believes complainants in those cases are typically men or women.

"So based on your experience as a law enforcement officer, how would you characterize the typical nature of an abuser?" Hassan asked.

Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable has objected to much of the line of questioning.

Franczyk warned Hassan that he would need to tie the questions into the case. 

***

3:02 p.m.: Enhanced images from surveillance video of the Bridges TV building of the night Aasiya Hassan was killed show movement in the hallway, as well as an objecting being raised in the air.

Prosecutors have shown jurors several different views of the same sequence that have been enhanced in different ways to better show the attack, which took place in a dark hallway.

***

2:49 p.m.: Survelliance video enhanced by the State Police shows a figure in the back of the Bridges TV building after Aasiya Hassan had been killed.

The figure, identified as Hassan by Orchard Park Police Lt. Patrick McMaster, then turns a light on and then off in the front office of the building.

It then shows Hassan exiting the building.

Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable said she is now going to play a shorter sequence from the video that focuses on the attack on Aasiya Hassan. Different types of video filters were used on that portion to enhance it, McMaster said.

***

2:35 p.m.: The courtroom is silent as prosecutors play surveillance video of the attack that had been enhanced by State Police to better show Hassan.

The black-and-white video is dark with a circle that has been spotlighted where a man appears. Orchard Park Detective Lt. Patrick McMaster identified the man as Hassan.

The video, which was previously shown in its original state to the jurors, shows Hassan entering the front office, pacing back and forth and looking out a window before the attack.

It also shows Hassan checking his cell phone as he waited, McMaster said.

In the courtroom, Hassan is quietly talking to his defense attorney and taking notes as the video plays. He has occasionally looked at the video.

***

2:25 p.m.: Orchard Park Detective Lt. Patrick McMaster testified that he took surveillance video from the Bridges TV offices to the New York State Police in Albany to be enhanced.

State Police then enhanced the video to spotlight the attack sequence from the night of Aasiya Hassan's death.

Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable is entering the enhanced video into evidence and preparing to show it to the jurors.

"Other than highlighting or spotlighting that, has it been altered in any way?" Curtin Gable asked.

"No, it has not," McMaster responded. 

***

2:13 p.m.: The trial has resumed. Orchard Park Detective Lt. Patrick McMaster is on the stand.

***

12:56  p.m.: Before the trial broke for lunch, Franczyk ruled that Hassan was entitled to documents he requested earlier in the day that are related to a psychiatric evaluation report of Hassan prepared by a doctor.

Schwartz, speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, said the doctor evaluated Hassan at the end of last year. Prosecutors will have to turn over "everything that the doctor had relied upon," Schwartz said.

The trial is scheduled to resume at 2:10 p.m.

***

12:48 p.m.: A search of Aasiya Hassan's 1999 Plymouth Voyager van parked outside of Bridges TV on the night of her death turned up a card with contact information for domestic violence advocates and an M&T Bank envelope with 49 $100 bills.

Hassan's son, Michael, testified earlier that his father handed him an M&T bank envelope of cash outside the television station as the son waited in the van for his step-mother. 

The jury has now left the courtroom for lunch.

***

12:32 p.m.: A bandage that was on Hassan's middle finger on the night of his arrest was collected and tested for evidence, Orchard Park Detective Lt. Patrick McMaster said.

The bandage was one of several that Hassan had on his hands, although it appeared he did not have fresh injuries on his hands, McMaster said.

Photographs of the bandages, which appeared between knuckles on his right hand, were shown to jurors.

"Did you notice anywhere on the defendant any fresh injuries?" prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable asked.

"No, I did not," McMaster said.

***

12:21 p.m.: Orchard Park Detective Lt. Patrick McMaster testified that Hassan "seemed very calm" at the police station the night of Aasiya Hassan's death.

McMaster also described Hassan as "patient" that night.

Members of the Orchard Park police have already testified that Hassan arrived at the police station and said he had killed his wife.

"Did he appear shocked or dazed or out of it or anything of that nature?" prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable asked.

"No, he did not," McMaster replied.

Hassan asked officers at the station to get his medication and a sleep apnea machine from a Clarion hotel in Hamburg, McMaster said.

***

12:15 p.m.: Hassan's brief cross-examination of Orchard Park Police Detective John Payne opened with questions about how well Payne knew Aasiya Hassan.

Payne told Hassan he had seen her working at an Orchard Park 7-11 store, which was owned by the Hassans.

"You would see Aasiya frequently at the 7-11?" Hassan asked in a quiet voice. 

"I wouldn't say frequently," Payne replied.

"But from time to time, you would?" Hassan asked.

"I have seen her more than once," Payne replied.

Hassan asked Payne whether Aasiya Hassan had told her she was in counseling. Payne said she had not. 

Another question from Hassan drew a strong objection from Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable: "Are you aware of the fact that Aasiya was diagnosed as abusive?" Franczyk ordered that the question be stricken from the record.

Hassan then wrapped up his questioning by asking Payne whether he recalled where the first light switch was located at the Bridges TV building. 

***

12:06 p.m.: Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable concluded her questioning of Orchard Park Police Detective John Payne with the admission of DNA samples from Aasiya Hassan's body into evidence.

Hassan is now cross-examining Payne.

***

11:55 a.m.: The jury has left for a short break.

***

11:53 a.m.: Hassan had a black briefcase that contained empty boxes for two hunting knives in his Mercedes Benz when he left it at the Orchard Park Police Department on the night of Aasiya Hassan's death.

The briefcase also contained to two sheaths for Buck Knives, as well as a Walmart bag. A receipt for the two knives was in Hassan's car, Orchard Park Police Detective John Payne said.

An earlier witness testified that Hassan purchased the two hunting knives at Walmart on the day of the murder. Store video also showed Hassan buying the knives.

Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable has shown the items to the jury.

***

11:46 a.m.: Hassan has put forth few objections this morning as Orchard Park Police Detective John Payne unseals evidence taken from the crime scene and from Aasiya Hassan's body.

At several points, Franczyk has asked Hassan if he objects to the evidence being shown. Hassan has quietly replied: "No, your honor."

He lodged one objection when prosecutors showed video surveillance from the Bridges TV building of Aasiya Hassan's attack. The judge allowed the video to continue. 

***

11:40 a.m.: A gray hooded sweatshirt that Aasiya Hassan was wearing on the night of her death is covered in dried blood.

A camisole she was wearing also has numerous cut marks and what appears to be dried blood.

Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable has shown the sweatshirt, a camisole and a pair of jeans, which also have blood stains, to the jury. 

***

11:30 a.m.: Orchard Park Detective John Payne has unsealed three floor tiles collected from the hallway scene at Bridges TV two days after Aasiya Hassan's murder. 

The tiles are marked with taped scales to show where Aasiya's neck was positioned on the floor when police found her body.

Payne is now unsealing the clothing Aasiya Hassan was wearing at the time of her death. The clothes, which Payne said were sealed after her autopsy, include jeans, a gray hooded sweatshirt and a camisole. 

***

11:20 a.m.: Tiles from the hallway at Bridges TV collected by detectives showed gouges, cuts, blood and hair at the point where the neck of Aasiya's body was positioned on the floor, Orchard Park Detective John Payne said.

Photographs of the tiles before they were removed by investigators were admitted as evidence by the prosecution.

Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable is now showing the photographs to the jury.

The pictures show spatters and blotches of blood across the floor.

All of the tiles in the hallway were later collected as evidence, Payne said.

***

11:16 a.m.: Orchard Park Detective John Payne has shown the jurors all of the items Aasiya Hassan had in her pockets when detectives found her body.

The items did not include a weapon.

Payne showed the jurors a cell phone, cash, keys, a Visa credit card, an appointment card for Supercuts and two receipts for Tops and HSBC Bank.

"That's the sum total of the items that were in Mrs. Hassan's pockets?" Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable asked.

"Yes, ma'am," Payne said.

Colleen Curtin Gable said she was showing those items so "we can see what is in there and what is not in there."

***

11:06 a.m.: A surveillance video taken from Bridges TV the night of Aasiya's death shows movement in a dark hallway after she enters. 

Shortly after, Orchard Park Detective John Payne said, a portion of Aasiya's body appears on the video in the hallway.

"Certainly less than a minute from when she walked into that hallway, correct?" Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable asked.

"Yes ... 47 seconds," Payne said.

Hassan is seen on the video then taking his brief case and walking out of the Thorn Avenue building. He walks around the building and checks a window. 

After Hassan leaves, the video shows detectives arriving on the scene.

Curtin Gable has fast-forwarded through portions of the video in which no people appear.

The video earlier showed Aasiya arriving in a minivan and unlocking the door at about 5:52 or 5:53 p.m.. She enters the building at about 5:55 p.m., Payne said.  

***

10:51 a.m.: The jury has returned to the courtroom after Hassan, attorneys and Franczyk have finished discussing Hassan's legal requests.

Orchard Park Detective John Payne is now back on the witness stand.

Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable is showing the jury black-and-white surveillance video of the Feb. 12, 2009, attack on Aasiya from eight cameras at the Bridges TV office in Orchard Park. The courtroom is nearly silent, aside from Curtin Gable's questions of Payne.

The images appear in small squares played simultaneously on two flat-screen televisions in the courtroom.

Hassan appears in the video entering the building at about 5:22 p.m. with a black bag. He then turns on a light and turns it off, before peering out a window. He also checks his cell phone. The video -- taken of a dark room -- appears grainy. 

Hassan, wearing a long-sleeve shirt, then opens the outside door of the building and checks the lock.

***

10:45 a.m.: Franczyk told Hassan he is concerned that Hassan intends to call an unexpected expert witness for which prosecutors have not been able to prepare.

"I'm not going to allow you to pull somebody out of left field at the last minute," Franczyk said.

Franczyk also told Hassan he does not see a good basis to order anyone in the galley who appear on Hassan's latest witness list out of the courtroom.

*** 

10:40 a.m.: Franczyk told Hassan that he received a letter Monday from a psychologist whom Hassan has said he plans to call as a witness stating that she will not testify on behalf of Hassan.

Hassan insists that the witness, Ana Natasha Cervantes, a Buffalo forensic psychologist, plans to testify on his behalf as an expert witness.

"Since that letter things have changed," Hassan said.

Franczyk said Hassan has told the court and prosecutors "nothing" about who he plans to call if Cervantes and other expert witnesses he has said will testify do not. 

***

10:34 a.m.: Franczyk admonished Hassan for "playing hide and seek" with his proposed psychiatric defense and for failing to detail what strategy he plans to pursue with the prosecutors.

Hassan declined to answer at this point when asked directly by the judge to describe his proposed psychiatric defense.

Hassan has also asked the judge to call a doctor who gave Hassan a personality test. The witness, Franczyk said, is on the prosecution list and is prepared as a rebuttal witness, depending on what defense Hassan pursues.

"Right now, what are you trying to do, co-opt their expert as your own?" Franczyk asked.

***

10:20 a.m.: Hassan is requesting that the judge allow him to obtain letters, depositions and other evidence from prosecutors.

The items include letters Hassan wrote to his children, Michael and Sonia, results of a personality test Hassan took and copies of e-mails Aasiya wrote.

Hassan told the judge the material would "help establish the pattern that we're trying to establish."

"And what pattern is that?" Franczyk asked. 

"Misinformation campaign by Aasiya," Hassan replied.

Hassan has also supplied a new witness list to judge, which includes Franczyk's name, a Buffalo News staff reporter, the prosecutors and District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III. 

Franczyk appears incredulous as to what he and members of the press would testify to in the case.

"So you intend to call me as a witness in the trial to which I'm presiding?" Franczyk asked.

When the judge asked how the proceedings would work if he took the witness stand, Hassan replied: "We'll work out the logistics should I decided to do that."

***

9:55 a.m.: Nearly all the seats are full in Franczyk's courtroom as attorneys and spectators wait for the trial to resume. The judge is hearing arguments in other cases. Neither Hassan nor the jury are in the room.

Read News Staff Reporter Sandra Tan's account of Monday's court proceedings in "Hassan allowed to represent himself at trial."

See The News' entire coverage of the Hassan case, including past stories, audio and vido, here.

--Denise Jewell Gee

The trial of Muzzammil Hassan: Day 4

BUFFALO -- Jurors have reported back to Erie County Court this morning for a 10 a.m. start to day four of the Mo Hassan trial.

Hassan, 46, a former television executive of Bridges TV, is accused of the stabbing and beheading death of his 37-year-old wife, Aasiya Zubair Hassan.

Read News Staff Reporter Sandra Tan's account of the first week of the trial in "Hassan faulted on attempts to represent himself."

Read The News' entire coverage of the Hassan case.

6:28 p.m.: Schwartz also spoke to the media outside the courtroom late this afternoon after proceedings:

5:24 p.m.: In case you missed it, here's the recap of what happened earlier today, led by the ruling that Hassan can represent himself. Hassan's latest lawyer, Jeremy D. Schwartz, also spoke to reporters earlier today:

4:58 p.m.: The trial has recessed until 10 a.m. Tuesday.

4:54 p.m.: Photos from different cameras show a figure arriving at Bridges, holding an illuminated cell phone in a room and, later, Mrs. Hassan arriving at Bridges holding a plastic bag around 5:54 p.m. on Feb. 12, 2009.

4:46 p.m.: Gable is about to show still photographs taken from security cameras at Bridges with the video to be shown during testimony tomorrow.

4:41 p.m.: Payne, with shaved head wearing a shirt and tie, is very polite answering "Yes, ma'm" to each of Gable's questions.

4:37 p.m.: Det. Payne says no weapon was found near the victim or in her pockets. Earlier prosectors said they expect a self-defense claim from the defendant.

4:31 p.m.: Gable is now going over each item with Payne recovered from a Toys-r-Us bag found next to the victim including men's soap, keys and a Qur'an.

4:22 p.m.: Prosecutor Gable is going over crime scene photos with Payne -- the hallway where Aasiya's body was found, the contents of a bag found next to the victim's body and the bathroom where Payne found the knives.

4:16 p.m.: Payne says he observed "two large knives in the basin of the sink" in a bathroom. Payne waited for a search warrant and secured the scene, he said.

4:12 p.m.: Payne is recounting the events of Feb. 12, 2009 at Bridges TV studio. Through the window of a closed door, Payne said, "I could see a torso on the floor."

4:10 p.m.: Orchard Park Police Det. John Payne is now on the stand. 

4:09 p.m.: Judge instructs the jury that the next witness' testimony may include "graphic and in some instances gruesome" photos shown for their "evidentiary value" not to inflame emotions.

4:02 p.m.: Judge is finding that some of the photos are relevant. "I think it's relevant to show that [Aasiya's] hands were without any weapon," said Franczyk.

3:54 p.m.: Court is in session again. The defense objects to displaying any more crime scene photos because it's "inflammatory," said Hassan. Jury has not been seated.

3:35 p.m.: Officer Kadi is excused from the witness stand and Judge Franczyk called for a 10 minute recess.

3:30 p.m.: Bonanno is having Kadi read aloud the narrative he wrote stemming from the June 20 incident.

3:28 p.m.: Hassan concludes his cross-examination by recounting an incident where a car was towed away from the Hassans' home for a parking violation. Hassan asks Kadi if he was friendly to him and offered him a beer. Kadi said Hassan was friendly and doesn't recall the offer of a beer. "It was coffee," said Hassan. "I don't drink alcohol."

3:19 p.m.: Kadi said Aasiya did not want to continue with the case so it was not pursued further. Hassan asks if Kadi thinks it's "good police work" to not ask Hassan for his side of the story in any police reports Aasiya filed against her husband.

3:13 p.m.: Mo Hassan is attempting to make a claim that Aasiya falsely reported an incident in the complaint during his questioning of Orchard Park police officer Joe Kadi.

3:08 p.m.: As he runs into objections from prosecutors, Hassan is getting advice on phrasing his questions from his advisor attorney Jeremy Schwartz.

3:02 p.m.: Hassan just entered the police report into evidence as a defense exhibit. It supposedly involves an incident where Mo Hassan took off in Aasiya's van stranding her.

2:55 p.m.: Kadi just read a narrative written June 20, 2007 in a police report complaint that Aasiya filed against Mo Hassan.

2:49 p.m: Hassan begins his cross-examination by asking Kadi if he remembers receiving free coffee and donuts at the Orchard Park 7-11 that Aasiya ran. "Just coffee," Kadi replies.

2:44 p.m.: Kadi said he collected a piece of a jacket that was left in the hallway after Aasiya's body was removed by the coroner. Bonanno is introducing as evidence several photos of the crime scene, which depict blood, hair and the jacket piece. Bonanno also introduced the jacket piece as evidence and instructed Kadi to display it to the jury.

2:35 p.m.: Prosecutor Paul Bonanno is questioning Kadi about where Kadi searched for evidence in the Bridges TV studio including a trash can behind a desk.

2:29 p.m.: Kadi is recounting the events on the night of Feb. 12, 2009. Kadi said he was informed of a possible homicide on Thorn Road and responded to the scene. He entered the TV studio with flashlights and saw "a female body on the ground, she was on her back" that had been beheaded. He recognized the body as Aasiya Hassan. He then sought out a search warrant, he said.

2:25 p.m.: The trial has resumed. Prosecutors have called Orchard Park Police Officer Joseph Kadi to the stand.

12:51 p.m.: The trial breaks for lunch until 2:10 p.m.

12:50 p.m.: Hassan just finished his questioning of Baliwala. Gable just started her redirect cross-exam of the witness.

12:48 p.m.: There are at least five Erie County Sheriff's deputies and court police officers in the courtroom -- three standing right behind Hassan at the defense table as he questions the witness.

12:43 p.m.: Hassan's questions now concern Feb. 12, 2009 -- the date Aasiya died. The defendant has run into frequent roadblocks in his attempts to cross-examine Bridges TV General Manager Hunaid Baliwala.

12:33 p.m.: Gable says Hassan told her to "calm down" after she objected to one of his questions. "I will not have counsel telling me to 'calm down,'" said Gable. Franczyk told Hassan to direct all comments to him.

12:30 p.m.: Hassan is questioning Baliwala about his knowledge of Mo and Aasiya's relationship. Hassan: "Did you know about the marital problems of Aasiya and Mo from both sides?"

12:20 p.m.: Hassan is questioning Baliwala about their relationship including trips they took together and whether Hassan encouraged Baliwala to get his MBA degree. Gable is objecting as to the "relevance" of Hassan's line of questioning.

12:14 p.m.: Gable is objecting to many of Hassan's questions and claims they're "inadmissible hearsay." Judge Franczyk is sustaining many of the objections.

12:09 p.m.: Hassan is trying to read a list of adjectives to Baliwala such as "domineering." But Gable is objecting. Judge says Hassan may only question Baliwala on facts.

12:04 p.m.: Gable has finished her questioning of Baliwala. Hassan has begun his cross-examining of the witness -- his first since taking over as his own counsel -- and is referencing himself in the third person. Hassan has submitted some hand-written notes as evidence.

12:00 p.m.: Baliwala was allowed to return to the TV studio the following weekend. Ceiling tiles and whole walls were taken out by investigators in a hallway area, he said, and evidence markings were everywhere. Baliwala said he and another employee used bleach to clean up dried blood at the scene.

11:55 a.m.: While at the station, police informed Baliwala that Aasiya was dead and asked Baliwala if he could take all four of the Hassan children to his home that evening. Baliwala said the defendant during a phone call gave him some phone numbers of lawyers and instructions, which Baliwala was advised not to carry out.

11:51 a.m.: On Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009, Baliwala said he saw Aasiya around noon at the Bridges TV studio. He left for classes that night in Rochester and never saw her again, he said. Hamburg police came to his door later that night and requested that he call Orchard Park police, who asked him to come in to the police station.

11:45 a.m.: During the following work week, Aasiya and Mo Hassan were often in the TV station's conference room behind closed doors, Baliwala said.

11:37 a.m.: Hassan packed up and left the Bridges TV studio "in a rush" after being served divorce papers on Feb. 6, 2009, Baliwala said. Then Baliwala and his wife went to an Orchard Park Target store where Aasiya and the four children were shopping, he said. Baliwala was nervous for her, he said.

11:32 a.m.: Baliwala is recounting his knowledge of the relationship between Aasiya and Mo Hassan -- including when Aasiya planned on filing for divorce. Baliwala said he had advised Aasiya to file for divorce on a Friday to make things easier.

11:19 a.m.: Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable is asking Baliwala about the layout of and security cameras inside the Bridges TV offices in Orchard Park where the murder of Aasiya Hassan took place. They are now reviewing photographs submitted as evidence.

11:02 a.m.: The judge has informed the jury that Hassan will be representing himself. The prosecution has called its next witness -- Bridges TV General Manager Hunaid Baliwala -- to the stand.

10:59 a.m.: The jury of five women and seven men has just filed into the courtroom.

10:49 a.m.: The judge, prosecution and Hassan have adjourned to a side room to discuss what Hassan called a "sensitive" issue. The judge will instruct the jury about this recent developments when they are seated.

10:43 a.m.: Attorneys are now going over how Hassan will be allowed to question witnesses. Hassan will be allowed to use a podium on the defense table. Exhibits will be handed to the witness by the court officer.

10:41 a.m.: Judge is getting assurances from Hassan that Hassan will follow the rules of counsel.

10:36 a.m.: Franczyk: "Bottom line is [Hassan] does have the right to steer his own ship even if unwittingly he steers it into an iceberg." Judge is going to grant Hassan's request to represent himself but wants to make sure Hassan knows some of the rules. Schwartz is going to stay on as an advisor.

10:34 a.m.: Judge says the defendant must have an idea in his head of how a lawyer should represent him. "This is not Burger King where you get to have it your way every time," said Judge Franczyk.

10:31 a.m.: The judge is reviewing case law on the issue of self-representation.

10:29 a.m.: Judge Franczyk says it was his hope that the defense would reconcile over the weekend since the issue of self-representation came up last week. The judge says he has since reviewed the issue. The defendant does have the right to counsel of his choice, the judge said.

10:24 a.m.: Hassan has just been led into the courtroom. There is a sketch artist in the courtroom. Defense attorney Jeremy Schwartz says his differences with the defendant are "irreconcilable." He is asking the judge to allow Hassan to represent himself.

10:20 a.m.: News reporter Sandy Tan says she spotted what may be a Qur'an placed near the witness stand next to the Bible. The defense had asked for one last week.

10:09 a.m.: The judges and attorneys are back in the courtoom having returned from a nearly 20 minute conference in judge's chambers. No sign of the defendant or jury yet.

9:50 a.m.: Judge Thomas P. Franczyk and attorneys representing the defense and prosecution were in the courtroom but have just gone into conference in judge's chambers. The jury has not been seated yet. Prosecutors have also carted in six boxes of evidence.

--Joseph Popiolkowski

State Sen. George D. Maziarz chats live at 12:30 p.m.

The trial of Muzzammil Hassan: Day 3

BUFFALO -- The third day of the murder trial of Muzzammil "Mo" Hassan has wrapped up in Erie County Court.

Hassan, 46, a former television executive of Bridges TV, is accused of the stabbing and beheading death of his 37-year-old wife, Aasiya Zubair Hassan.

5:40 p.m.: Defense attorney Jeremy Schwartz spoke with reporters after today's session.

He said he's still Mo Hassan's lawyer, and it hasn't been decided whether Mo Hassan plans to stay out of the courtroom for the rest of the trial.

"Nothing that happened today is something that has not happened in a case where somebody is facing this serious a charge before," Schwartz said.

Here's the entire exchange with reporters (runtime: about 4 minutes):

5:13 p.m.: Judge said day's session is over. Jurors to report back on Monday morning at 9:45 a.m., shooting for a 10 a.m. start.

***

5:04 p.m.: The video shows Mo Hassan in Walmart testing out one of the knives on a cardboard box, Elizabeth McCourt tells prosecutors.

***

4:57 p.m.: Prosecutors are about to play a DVD of the Walmart surveillance tape showing Mo Hassan buying the knives.

***

4:53 p.m.: Prosecution offers into evidence Walmart receipt for Mo Hassan's purchase of two hunting knives just hours before the killing.

McCourt, the Walmart employee who sold Hassan the knives, said he acted calm -- like a normal customer -- when he came in to buy the knives.

***

4:43 p.m.: Elizabeth McCourt, a Walmart employee, has been called to the stand. Walmart is where Mo Hassan purchased the knives prosecutors say he used in the killing.

***

4:41 p.m.: The defense is back and the jury is being called back into the room.

Mo Hassan has told his attorney he will not return to the courtroom today.

***

4:35 p.m.: The conference with the judge is over. The defense is apparently going back to meet with Mo Hassan, who has been taken to a room with audio and video feeds of what's happening in the courtroom. He chose to leave the courtroom after the judge ruled earlier this afternoon Hassan could not represent himself for the rest of the trial.

4:30 p.m.: The defense has returned to the courtroom. The lawyers on both sides are at the bench talking with the judge.

***

4:27 p.m.: With very little fanfare, the defense has left the courtroom. Courtroom activities on hold.

***

4:20 p.m.: Court is back in session.

***

4:19 p.m.: There has been a short recess so the prosecution could get a laptop ready to use in its presentation.

Attorneys are waiting for court to be called back in session.

*** 

4:09 p.m.: At the same time the check was found, a receipt was also found for the purchase of a post office box, Numan-Ali said.

The defense cross examined Numan-Ali, and he's been excused from the witness stand.

On cross examination, he said he gave a statement to Orchard Park Police that he never witnessed any physical abuse involving Mo and Aasiya Hassan.

***

4:03 p.m.: Numan-Ali, who went to the University at Buffalo and attended MBA classes with Aasiya Hassan, said once the Bridges TV offices reopened, he found a bank check for $90,000 under his desk issued to Mo Hassan. It was issued Feb. 10, 2009, two days before the killings.

Prosecutor now putting into evidence still photos that appear to be from surveillance video inside Bridges TV.

The first photo showed Aasiya Hassan leaving a conference room, a room which Numan-Ali said she and Mo Hassan were in for several hours in the days after Mo Hassan was served with divorce papers.

***

3:36 p.m.: Prosecution calls Mohamed Numan-Ali, who worked at Bridges TV for the Hassans.

***

3:34 p.m.: After re-cross examination by the defense, Josie Sisson is allowed to step down.

***

3:29 p.m.: Defense attorney Jeremy Schwartz's cross examination of Sisson is done. The prosecution is conducting redirect examination.

***

3:26 p.m.: Defense attorney Jeremy Schwartz is cross-examining Josie Sisson.

Schwartz has asked Sisson about Aasiya's allergies and whether she's ever had inflammed eyes, mouth or lips because of allergies.

***

3:18 p.m.: Prosecutor Paul Bonanno leading Josie Sisson through five medical records from Aasiya Hassan's visits to doctor's office.

Reports refer to various injuries occurring from incidents in which Aasiya either said she was victim of domestic violence or medical staff concluded it.

In a report from April 2008, Aasiya Hassan initially told medical staff that she fell off a bicycle. It was only later that Aasiya admitted the injuries were from a "vicious beating" from her husband, Sisson said.

***

3:01 p.m.: Physician's assistant on the stand says she also treated Aasiya Hassan.

*** 

3 p.m.: Prosecution calls Josie Sisson, a physician's assistant from Orchard Park.

Sisson says Mo Hassan was patient at practice where she works from 2000 to 2009.

***

2:58 p.m.: Judge Franczyk tells jury they cannot draw any inference from Mo Hassan not being present.

***

2:55 p.m.: Jury is being invited back into the courtroom, per Judge Franczyk.

***

2:51 p.m.: Activities in the courtroom seem to be moving forward in a smooth, typical fashion -- a stark contrast to what was happening within the last hour.

***

2:44 p.m.: Lawyers on both sides are arguing about portions of some of Aasiya Zubair Hassan's medical records which will be redacted before entered into evidence.

A portion of at least one document is a medical report that includes information describing domestic violence incidents.

Defense attorney Jeremy Schwartz is arguing portions are not specific enough to be admissible as evidence.

The jury has yet to enter the courtroom today.

***

2:40 p.m.: Before the judge ruled about representation, defense attorney Jeremy Schwartz said he thought the judge should grant Mo Hassan's request, saying it is becoming "increasingly difficult" to move foward.

Schwartz said the defense is "at a crossroads."

"It's going to continue to become more difficult and more difficult to go forward in this manner," Schwartz said.

Chief prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable argued against the judge granting the motion to allow Hassan to represent himself.

"This defendant's desire to control and manipulate this process is not compelling circumstances," she said.

***

2:29 p.m.: Before he left the courtroom, Mo Hassan called his attorney, Jeremy Schwartz, a good person and a very successful lawyer.

But Hassan claimed Schwartz did not fulfill the terms of his retainer, including not meeting with him four times a week.

Hassan also disputed some points in the timeline leading up to the trial, in terms of when Schwartz was retained.

"It is ineffective counsel because on last time Mr. Schwartz visited me was December the 3rd," Hassan told the judge. "Between Dec. 3 to Jan. 4, he never came to see me."

Hassan repeated to the judge his belief that he is the only one whose life would be negatively impacted if he represents himself.

"I'm the only one who faces the consequences of this decision," the defendant said. "You have no consequences. None, whatsover. Nobody in this room does. I am taking the risk."

2:22 p.m.: Mo Hassan has left the courtroom, saying he does not want to proceed with his current attorney.

He was cuffed and taken to a room that has audio and video feeds from the courtroom.

He asked if he could be taken back to the Erie County Holding Center, but that was denied.

***

2:13 p.m.: Franczyk has rejected Hassan's motion to represent himself.

Immediately after the ruling was spoken, Mo Hassan requested the he be allowed to leave the courtoom.

The judge warned Hassan of the pitfalls of not being present at his own trial.

Hassan is speaking at length with the judge, claiming his defense attorney has been "ineffective counsel."

***

2:06 p.m.: Judge Franczyk said Mo Hassan filed a motion to represent himself this morning, but he denied the motion.

The judge also said he decided he should take time to review case law, so that he could make sure he was making a reasoned and appropriate ruling.

Judge Franczyk is still outlining relevant case law.

***

1:48 p.m.: Here's Staff Reporter Matt Gryta's recap of today's events so far.

***

11:26 a.m.: Defense attorney Jeremy Schwartz said a legal issue arose and both the prosecution and defense have some legal research to do.

***

11:22 a.m.: Lawyers, judge and defendant re-enter courtroom from private conference. Court official announces session is adjourned until 2 p.m.

***

11:07 a.m.: Judge Thomas P. Franczyk asked for the defendant to be brought back, and all parties are heading into the jury room again.

About an hour ago, the judge, attorneys and Mo Hassan left the courtroom after defense attorney Jeremy Schwartz said his client would like to discuss the issue of representation.

***

10:58 a.m.: The attorneys and the judge are all back in the courtroom. Mo Hassan is not.

***

10:34 a.m.: Judge, attorneys and Hassan emerge from conference.

Court official says proceedings will resume at 11 a.m.

***

10:22 a.m.: Judge, attorneys and Hassan still holding private conference outside of the courtroom.

The jury is still not in the courtroom.

***

10:05 a.m.: Defense attorney Jeremy Schwartz has told the judge his client would like to meet to discuss the issue of representation.

The judge, Hassan and all of the attorneys have left the courtroom.

During yesterday's proceedings, Franczyk rejected a request that Hassan be allowed to cross examine some witnesses including his daughter, Sonia, and the family babysitter.

***

9:59 a.m.: Judge Thomas P. Franczyk has taken the bench and attorneys for both sides are in the courtroom, but there's no sign of the jury.

***

9:51 a.m.: Here's News Staff Reporter Sandra Tan's story about yesterday's testimony, which included Mo Hassan's children taking the stand.

You can also review Staff Reporter Denise Jewell Gee's live blog from Day Two and Day One of the trial.

For The News' complete coverage of the entire Hassan case, check out our topics page.

--Aaron Besecker

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