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Defense adviser, court spectator speak outside Hassan courtroom

Mo Hassan's legal adviser Jeremy Schwartz spoke to reporters around 3:30 p.m. just before the jury was allowed to begin deliberations:

Nasheyah Dubaishi, a Buffalo woman who said she's a domestic violence victim, addressed reporters this afternoon outside the Erie County courtroom where Mo Hassan's trial is being held:

The trial of Muzzammil "Mo" Hassan: Day 14

BUFFALO -- A jury found Muzzammil "Mo" Hassan guilty of second-degree murder this afternoon.

The jury had deliberated about an hour. Here's Sandra Tan's full story.

Closing arguments concluded this afternoon, with Hassan addressing jurors for nearly two hours this morning. 

Hassan, 46, had been accused of stabbing and beheading his wife, Aasiya Zubair Hassan, at an Orchard Park television station Feb. 12, 2009. Hassan turned himself in the same night.

Prosecutor Collen Curtin Gable has delivered the people's closing argument.

Erie County Court Judge Thomas P. Franczyk, who has allowed Hassan to represent himself, is presiding.

Check out this timeline from inside the courtroom today:

5:13 p.m.: Sedita says Hassan was not tried with first-degree murder because the case did not meet the statutory criteria.

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5:11 p.m.: Sedita says his office will argue for the maximum, 25-years-to-life sentence.

That means Hassan would have to serve at least 25 years in state prison before he was eligible for parole.

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5:09 p.m.: Asked what part of the case most surprised them, prosecutors had a number of things to say.

Sedita: "How extraordinarily manipulative this man was to women, especially women in his life."

Bonanno: That Hassan never talked about the actual murder in his closing arguments.

Curtin Gable: The experts he called, who were not helpful to him.

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5:02 p.m.: Sedita said most of Hassan's witnesses helped the prosecution.

The DA also said he's very confident the case will be safe on appeal, which he expects Hassan to file.

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4:57 p.m.: Colleen Curtin Gable was asked about when she got emotional near the end of her closing statement.

She said that as a homicide prosecutor, she's always representing someone who is murdered.

She said she was thinking about Aasiya Hassan, a young mother who was trying to make a better life for her and her children.

***

4:53 p.m.: District Attorney Frank Sedita and the prosecutors from this case are holding a press conference in the DA's office.

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4:43 p.m.: Jurors are being escorted to their vehicles by court officers.

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4:42 p.m.: Sentencing March 9 at 9:30 a.m.

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4:42 p.m.: No juror wants to speak with the media.

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4:41 p.m.: Each juror asked individually for their verdict. All say guilty.

 

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4:40 p.m.: Jury is being polled.

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4:39 p.m.: Verdict: GUILTY.

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4:37 p.m.: The judge said the jury submitted a note saying they have a verdict. That means the jury deliberated about an hour.

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4:35 p.m.: The judge says the jury has a verdict.

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4:25 p.m.: Court officials now report the jury was allowed to start deliberating at 3:35 p.m.

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3:47 p.m.: Court officials report the jury was allowed to begin deliberating at about 3:25 p.m.

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3:41 p.m.: Judge Franczyk is hearing other cases in his courtroom.

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3:40 p.m.: The jury has still not been given the go-ahead to start deliberating yet.

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3:31 p.m.: Mo Hassan was just taken from the courtroom. He was carrying a box of paperwork.

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3:25 p.m.: A couple jurors have been taken outside and allowed to have a smoke.

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3:24 p.m.: Jury instructions took a little more than a half-hour.

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3:20 p.m.: Judge says instructions are over. The jury is leaving the courtroom, but asked not to start deliberating until they are given the OK. Parties in the courtroom have to gather up evidence to be given to the jury, the judge says.

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3:11 p.m.: A person is not justified if he or she is the initial aggressor, though that does not necessarily mean they must have struck the first blow, the judge says.

A person is not justified if he or she could have retreated, he continued.

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3:07 p.m.: The defendant does not have to prove he was justified -- it's up to the prosecutors to prove he was not justified, according to the judge.

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3:05 p.m.: A person having intent to commit a crime does not have to have done any advanced planning, the judge instructs the jury.

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3:03 p.m.: Referring to testimony from a woman who knew Mo Hassan during graduate school (mid-1990s), the judge issued this instruction involving character witness:

Evidence of good character, even if believed, does not excuse criminal conduct, if that conduct is proven beyond reasonable doubt, Franczyk said.

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3:01 p.m.: A Buffalo woman who came to watch closing arguments today spoke with reporters during the lunch break. She said she has been a victim of domestic violence. Listen to what she had to say here.

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2:54 p.m.: Prior to starting the jury instructions, the judge ruled there will be no cameras allowed in the courtroom for the verdict.

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2:53 p.m.: The judge is now describing terms like burden of proof, presumption of innocence and reasonable doubt.

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2:52 p.m.: The jury instructions will be given in three phases: general criminal law; elements of the crime; and the deliberations process and the verdict sheet.

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2:47 p.m.: All parties are back in the courtroom and the jury is coming back in.

The judge has said it will take about 35 to 40 minutes for him to give the jury legal instructions prior to deliberation.

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2:37 p.m.: Court in recess for five minutes.

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2:33 p.m.: The judge says his instructions to the jury will take about 35 to 40 minutes.

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2:32 p.m.: The people's closing statement was exactly an hour long.

The jury has left the courtroom.

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2:31 p.m.: Curtin Gable: "And now is my final time to speak for her. That is my job, my duty, my priviledge, to speak for those who can no longer speak for themselves; to seek justice for them."

She has concluded her closing statement.

***

2:29 p.m.: Curtin Gable slightly choking up during this portion of her statement, noting we can't hear from Aasiya, herself, about what happened.

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2:21 p.m.: Curtin Gable says this was "textbook overkill."

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2:20 p.m.: During the prosecution's closing statement -- now about 50 minutes old -- Hassan has sat quietly. Most of the time, he's been facing forward in his chair, occasionally looking at a television monitor next to his table which shows the prosecution's presentation.

The prosecution was showing autopsy photos of Aasiya's body. Mo Hassan was watching the monitor.

***

2:13 p.m.: There is no evidence Mo Hassan was a victim anywhere but in his own mind, Curtin Gable said.

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2:12 p.m.: Now outlining characteristics of victims.

"When the victim finally tries to leave, it's only when the victim realizes it's never going to get better," she said. "And whom does that describe? That describes Aasiya. Certainly not this defendant."

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2:11 p.m.: Prosecution now outlining characteristics of abusers in abusive relationships.

"The abuser is overcontrolling including financial control and isolation of a victim from friends and family," she said.

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2:08 p.m.: Review of Mo Hassan's actions, almost minute-by-minute, in time before, during and after kiling.

When he went to the police station after the killing, he was calm and there were no tears, unlike when he was on the stand in court, Curtin Gable said.

Hassan's reaction was more like a business transaction, calmly making lists and asking for things he needs, she said.

"When he murdered his wife, he wasn't out of it. ... No, he's simply refusing to give details of the horrific killing he committed."

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2:02 p.m.: Jury is being shown surveillance video of killing again.

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1:59 p.m.: The prosecution is outlining Mo Hassan's actions on the day of the murder.

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1:57 p.m.: Mo Hassan, if he was the abuse victim, had an out when his wife served divorce papers, Curtin Gable said.

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1:56 p.m.: Mo Hassan's intent was clear based on his actions, plunging a knife into his wife more than 40 times and beheading her, Curtin Gable said.

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1:50 p.m.: The prosecutor is telling the jury to weigh whether Mo Hassan was credible.

She's also explaining why she had raise so many objections during testimony, saying it was her duty to do so when what Mo Hassan did wasn't legally permissible.

"Please don't hold that against me, don't hold that against our case," she said.

***

1:43 p.m.: More from the prosecution's closing arguments:

"There is absolutely no doubt that the defendant killed his wife intentionally -- the elements of murder in the 2nd degree," Curtin Gable said. "The one question you have to resolve is was he justified in doing so. And folks there is equally no doubt that he was not justified."

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1:40 p.m.: Curtin Gable is recalling incidents witnesses testified to on the stand.

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1:38 p.m.: The prosecutor tells the jury Hassan bought the knives for one purpose: "and that was to kill Aasiya."

She's now reviewing incidents in which Mo Hassan was the clear abuser, she said.

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1:35 p.m.: Prosecutor Collen Curtin Gable challenged Hassan's arguement he killed his wife in self defense.

"She brought him his clean laundry," Curtin Gable said. "He set upon her with two hunting knives and he wants you to believe that this was self defense."

She said she wants the jury to consider the credible and reliable evidence.

Him killing her was his "detrminiation to control her one last time."

***

1:30 p.m.: The defendant is in court, and we're waiting for the jury to re-enter the courtroom.

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1:27 p.m.: The courtroom has been opened to the public and reporters.

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12:18 p.m.: After the judge told Hassan he had nine minutes left, Hassan told the jury his relationship was like that of a master-slave, terrorist-hostage and jailer-prisoner relationship.

He said he felt trapped, betrayed, helpless, exploited and shaken.

It was like he was being raped, like his rights were stolen, he said.

He concluded with this: "I don't blame my wife. I blame the so-called profesionals. I want you to hold them (pointing to the prosecutors) accountable and responsible."

***

12:11 p.m.: Mo Hassan spent the last several minutes talking to the jury, in general, about how he saw his relationship with his wife.

In the last few moments of his statement, he quieted his voice.

In the entire two hours, he never talked about the killing. Only once in the whole statement did he refer to it, calling it "the event."

***

12:07 p.m.: Mo Hassan has ended his closing arguments. The jury is released for lunch.

Court will resume at 1:30 p.m.

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12:01 p.m.: Mo Hassan has nine minutes left, the judge tells him.

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11:57 a.m.: Mo Hassan was given two hours for a closing statement. He started at 10:02 a.m. and there was a break for about seven minutes, so he's got about 12 minutes left.

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11:49 a.m.: Hassan is likening himself to a dog living inside an invisible fence, repeatedly receiving shocks when it tries to escape.

He said he received so many "shocks" -- reports from police, Child Protective Services, and others -- he stopped trying to escape.

"You give up, just like that dog," he said.

***

11:38 a.m.: After raising an objection about a document Hassan showed on the screen to the jury, prosecutor Collen Curtin Gable removes the document.

"Please don't touch my papers," Hassan said.

The judge then orders Hassan to direct his comments to the court.

***

11:32 a.m.: Hassan has softened his voice in this part of his closing argument.

"It was not Aasiya's fault that she was abusive," he said. "We don't get to choose our parents."

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11:27 a.m.: Hassan is reading from an email he says Aasiya wrote to him describing the abuse she suffered from her father.

Her parents' marriage and her sister's made her "scared" of marriage, she wrote, according to Hassan.

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11:24 a.m.: Mo Hassan is showing the jury a sketch he did of a pendulum, which shows the range of descriptions of the relationship between himself and Aasiya.

He says his wife tried to keep him in "puppy dog mode."

"But the moment I try to express my hurt and pain," when he would try the pair to talk to counselors, "...I am hit with attacks of false accusations, so it brings me right back to the puppy dog mode."

***

11:16 a.m.: Mo Hassan talking about his offer to get a vasectomy and when his wife went on birth control.

One month, she missed her period and then was threatening to have the baby.

"And it's one whole month of brutality," he said.

Mo Hassan closed his eyes and shook his head as he said that.

***

11:06 a.m.: Mo Hassan tells the jury he was not harsh to his wife in e-mails seeking her to get help.

"I never blamed Aasiya -- I blamed the virus, I blamed the evil dragon. It is some kind of a disease," he said.

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11:02 a.m.: It's been one hour since Mo Hassan started his closing argument.

He's got another 65 minutes, according to the judge's rules.

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10:58 a.m.: The jury is back in, and Mo Hassan picks back up with a Nov. 21 "false accusation" against him.

Three court officers are sitting directly behind Mo, who is back at the podlum facing the jury.

There's another court officer in front and to the right of the podium. Another officer is behind the defense table.

*** 

10:55 a.m.: Jury is being called back into the courtroom.

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10:48 a.m.: Judge lets jury leave for five-minute recess.

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10:46 a.m.: Hassan tells the jury there was an incident of alleged abuse when she was at home and he was in Dubai.

"Either the doctor has been brainwashed," he said, "or I have a very long arm."

He goes on to refer to Gandhi, Reagan and Mandela, saying they weren't battling people but false religions.

Mo says his enemy is the "false belief in the false religion of patriarchy."

***

10:40 a.m.: Mo Hassan is about 40 minutes into his closing statement.

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10:38 a.m.: Mo Hassan refers to incident in which he said either he or his son elbowed Aasiya.

Hassan says there's nothing in the police report about that.

"They don't like to ask the question, 'Who started it?'"

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10:32 a.m.: Mo Hassan said Aasiya regularly told doctors of abuse two or three weeks prior, explaining why there were no marks or bruises.

"The doctors have been brainwashed," he said.

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10:30 a.m.: Mo Hassan tells the jury he will go through all the doctor's reports in evidence.

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10:28 a.m.: Mo Hassan has made multiple references to documents not in evidence, eliciting repeated objections from prosecutors.

One of Hassan's references was to page 453 of Nelson Mandela's autobiography. Seems to be referring to Mandela admitting to using violent means, even though he was awarded with a Nobel Peace Prize.

***

10:24 a.m.: Hassan is continuing to say that there is a lack of eyewitnesses of abuse, or witnesses who saw injuries on Aasiya.

"Nobody's saying 'I saw him do it.' They want you to believe that allegation is evidence," Mo Hassan said.

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10:21 a.m.: Mo Hassan is telling the jury that Aasiya was a victim of abuse as a child, which led to her alleged abusiveness.

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10:17 a.m.: Mo Hassan tells the jury there was a lack of eyewitnesses to any beatings or marks or bruises from beatings.

He says medical staff who treated Aasiya were manipulated by her.

He references an instance from Texas when there was a bruise on her body. At that time, she was "a crazy, lunatic, out of control person," and he was trying to restrain her, Hassan tells the jury.

***

10:12 a.m.: Mo Hassan is reading portions of e-mails from Aasiya from 2000 in which she says he's considerate, sweet and gentle.

Hassan asks if he had a major personality change in the last two years before he killed Aasiya.

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10:09 a.m.: Mo Hassan says hello to jury at the start of his statements.

He thanks them for coming and for listening to his side of the story.

Tries to make the point that the prosecution, during its case, has never "asked who started it."

Mo Hassan tries to allude to film, "Disclosure," but judge doesn't allow it because it can't be proven everyone in the jury has seen it.

***

10:04 a.m.: Mo Hassan has begun his closing argument.

He is standing at a podium in front of the jury box facing them.

Four court officers are standing behind him. One is standing in front.

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10:02 a.m.: The judge is giving the jury of an overview of what the closing arguments are.

The closing arguments are not evidence, but assessments of the evidence from each side's point of view, the judge tells the jury.

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9:58 a.m.: The jury is being brought in.

Judge reminds both sides their closing arguments will be limited to two hours.

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9:53 a.m.: Judge is reading from emails between Mo and Aasiya.

Aasiya wrote that Mo had blackmailed her by gaining her e-mail account password.

She called his blackmail an attempt to "save [himself] from his own barbaric actions."

"The worst you can do is kill us," her e-mail continued.

The judge said Mo's attempt to get these e-mails entered are like Bela Lugosi in the original "Dracula" film when he walks past a mirror.

"Do you know what he can't see?" the judge said.

"Himself," Mo Hassan responded.

The jury has not been brought into the courtroom.

***

9:42 a.m.: Mo Hassan wants to submit more emails into evidence.

Francyzk calls the process like "slow-drip water torture."

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9:40 a.m.: The judge and attorneys for both sides are discussing which evidence the jury will have access to inside their room when they deliberate.

Some documents will be allowed inside, video will be shown in the courtroom in the precense of all parties. For physical evidence, a court officer will go into the jury room to show the jury, but no discussion can be had in the precense of the court officer.

***

9:07 a.m.: Staff Reporter Maki Becker took a look at the bizarre nature of the case and how it's riveted the region in this piece published Sunday.

To see all The News' coverage of the Hassan case, check out our topics page.

Watch Staff Reporter Sandra Tan recap the third week of the trial:

--Aaron Besecker

The trial of Muzzammil "Mo" Hassan: Day 13

BUFFALO -- The murder trial of Muzzammil "Mo" Hassan continues today.

Hassan, 46, is accused of stabbing and beheading his wife, Aasiya Zubair Hassan, at an Orchard Park television station Feb. 12, 2009. Hassan turned himself in the same night.

Erie County Court Judge Thomas P. Franczyk has allowed Hassan to represent himself.

 

4:23 p.m. Court has adjourned after resolving the media requests.

 

4:21 p.m. Franczyk and Hassan then discussed how and when Hassan intends to read the e-mails that were entered into evidence to the jury. Franczyk admonished Hassan for his intention to read so many of the e-mails to the jury, and warned him that he may lose the attention of the jury if he does this. He told Hassan that he believed he had worked in advertising, and said he should know something about how much information people are able to process at any one time.

"When you just read something into evidence that's just an invitation to put people to sleep, I think," Franczyk cautioned.

 

4:16 p.m. Franczyk, Hassan and prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable are discussing whether and how still and video cameras will be allowed in court Monday to record the closing arguments for the case. Curtin Gable is expressing concern that the cameras not capture photos from the crime scene and other graphic images that will be displayed on a TV in court.

 

4:12 p.m. Essentially, Franczyk disallowed all e-mails that don't include comments from both Aasiya and Hassan and all e-mails that were written after the date in February 2008 when Aasiya said Hassan forced her to give him the password to her e-mail account.

 

4:08 p.m. What are the sides debating at this point? Small, numbing details.

One e-mail Hassan wanted to enter into evidence referred to a $200 check he gave to Aasiya.

Hassan wanted it entered into evidence because he said Aasiya complained about being under Hassan's thrall financially, while he believes this contradicts that claim.

"You think the jury wants to hear this kind of minutia?" Franczyk asked.

"My vote is no," Curtin Gable said, prompting laughter.

Franczyk said he thought she'd say that, but his question was directed toward Hassan.

 When Hassan said he did, Franczyk said he would allow it into evidence.

 

4 p.m. Franczyk is getting exasperated with Hassan, who is trying to enter into evidence a number of e-mails between Aasiya and Hassan. Franczyk complained that Hassan is trying to admit stand-alone e-mails that make it hard to understand their context or where they fit in a conversational thread.

 "How long are we going to keep doing this? I've been banging my head against the wall reading e-mails," Franczyk said at one point.

Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable, in objecting to various e-mails, describes them critically as "self-serving."

 

3:51 p.m. Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable and Hassan now are discussing, with Franczyk, which e-mails sent between Hassan and Aasiya will be admitted into evidence and shown to the jurors. Franczyk has agreed that some e-mails from 2000 will be admitted and the parties now are discussing e-mails from the period of 2006 to 2008. Curtin Gable has objected to the acceptance of a number of the latter e-mails, and the judge and Curtin Gable and Hassan are going through them one by one.

 

3:45 p.m. Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable now is reading from Aasiya's divorce affidavit, in which she said Hassan scripted her answers for the Family Court proceeding, as well as the questions that she, Hassan and their babysitter would be asked.

She has finished and the defense has concluded. Franczyk is now saying that closing arguments will be given Monday and he hopes that the jury can begin its deliberations Monday. As he excused them from the courtroom, he again reminded the jurors to not discuss the case with anyone and to avoid news coverage of the case.

 

3:41 p.m. Aasiya testified in the Feb. 5, 2008, Family Court neglect proceeding that Hassan had not hurt her in the previous seven months. The last incident was in June 2007, she testified, according to a section of testimony transcript read by legal adviser Jeremy Schwartz.

We have been getting along and learning more and more," Aasiya testified, Schwartz read.

He has finished reading from the transcript.

 

3:36 p.m. Aasiya testified in Family Court that the couple's sessions with family therapist David Myrow had been helpful, according to the sections of the transcript read by Hassan legal adviser Jeremy Schwartz.

She also testified that the couple had begun sessions with Kenneth Condrell, another therapist. who was helping her address some of her problems, including communication with Hassan and the children. 

She also testified to the stress she felt after losing two children, one to a miscarriage and one to an abortion. Aasiya also testified in the proceeding that taking care of her children and stepchildren, driving them to various activities and overseeing their education, could be stressful.

 

3:32 p.m. Jeremy Schwartz, Hassan's legal adviser, is reading to the jury the sections of Aasiya's Family Court testimony transcript that were entered into evidence. The proceeding occurred on Feb. 5, 2008.

Schwartz began by reading a question posed to Aasiya that asked whether there had been any problems between the beginning of her marriage to Hassan and March 2007 between her husband and their children. She said no, but said there were problems between her and her husband.

 

3:20 p.m. Child & Protective Services filed a child-neglect petition against Hassan, citing abuse allegations, and this is what prompted the Family Court proceeding.

Aasiya said in her divorce affidavit that she stayed home for two days to memorize the answers provided by Hassan to prepare for her Family Court testimony.

The court has taken a five minute break, and the jury will be brought back into the courtroom shortly to hear the approved sections of the Family Court transcript read to them.

 

3:12 p.m. Both sides have previously agreed to include Aasiya's divorce affidavit, which was her statement regarding Hassan's alleged lengthy pattern of abuse. Hassan wants portions of the transcript from the Family Court proceeding entered into evidence to impeach her divorce statement.

The divorce affidavit explicitly states that Hassan forced Aasiya to memorize a script of answers for some of her Family Court testimony.

 

3 p.m. Franczyk, prosecutors Colleen Curtin Gable and Paul Bonanno, Hassan and Hassan legal advisers Jeremy Schwartz and Elizabeth Bruce are going through sections of a transcript of a Family Court proceeding to see which parts of the transcript will be entered into evidence for the trial. 

Presumably, Hassan wants to use statements from the transcript to refute earlier testimony, or evidence entered into the record. The parties have pored over the transcript for about 10 minutes now.

 

2:51 p.m. Hassan told Franczyk he has no further defense witnesses to call. Franczyk excused the jury from the room and prosecutors, Hassan, his legal advisers and Franczyk are discussing whether a transcript of a Family Court proceeding is admissible as evidence.

 

2:48 p.m. Hassan asked David Myrow about Aasiya's "flip-flop" in agreeing to visit Hassan at his hotel before complaining to the therapist that she didn't want to go as often. Prosecutors objected, Franczyk sustained the objection and Hassan said he had no further questions. Myrow has left the witness stand.

 

2:44 p.m. Prosecutor Paul Bonanno has finished his cross examination of Hassan family therapist David Myrow and Hassan has begun to question Myrow on re-direct.

 

2:42 p.m. Aasiya, in an individual session with family therapist David Myrow, admitted that once during a fight between the couple, when Hassan had thrown things around a room, Aasiya broke his laptop.

Aasiya told Myrow she had gotten information from an official at her graduate school, a friend, about Haven House, a sanctuary for women in troubled or abusive relationships, Myrow recalled under questioning from prosecutor Paul Bonanno.

Aasiya told the therapist she was torn about leaving the marriage, and she was concerned that she would lose custody of the children to Hassan if she did divorce him.

Aasiya said she has been able to assert herself at times, by calling 911 for example, and she told Myrow she would take further action if Hassan physically threatened her or their children again.

In a later session, on Feb. 3, 2009, Aasiya told Myrow that she had contacted a lawyer. Hassan at that point had moved out, but Aasiya felt compelled to visit him at the hotel where he was staying because she feared he would get upset if she cut back on those visits.

Aasiya then told Myrow that Hassan had his brother tap into her e-mails, something Hassan denied.

Aasiya said she felt guilty that she didn't stand up to Hassan sooner, out of fear, but now feels she could leave him and provide for herself and their children.

 

2:35 p.m. Prosecutor Paul Bonanno asked David Myrow to recall that Aasiya had complained to him of being physically abused by Hassan, including suffering black eyes at his hands, while Hassan never complained of physical abuse at Aasiya's hands. 

Aasiya told Myrow that she wanted to leave the marriage because of Hassan's abuse, noting an attempt by Hassan to drive her car off the road, and she became increasingly frustrated that Hassan kept complaining about how much pain he was in, Myrow recalled from his sesion notes.

In a Dec. 4, 2007, session, a "distressed" Aasiya complained to Myrow of "years of physical abuse" from her husband, as well as his threats to kill himself and instances when he made dangerous movements while the couple was in a car together, Myrow recalled for Bonanno.

 

2:29 p.m. Hassan has finished his direct examination of David Myrow and prosecutor Paul Bonanno has begun his cross examination of the Hassan family therapist.

 

2:27 p.m. Hassan slowly is guiding David Myrow, a family therapist who worked with the Hassans, through the notes he kept from his sessions with the couple and his memories of those encounters.

Myrow recalled, under questioning from Hassan, that Hassan complained of verbal abuse by Aasiya while Aasiya complained of physical abuse by Hassan.

Hassan asked Myrow if he ever saw bruises or other injuries on Aasiya that would indicate she had been abused.

"I do not believe I did," Myrow said.

 Hassan again asked whether Myrow, during the entire period between July 2007 to January 2009 when the couple met with the therapist, whether he had written in his notes any observation of evidence of Hassan's abuse of Aasiya.

"No."

 Did Myrow see Hassan hit Aasiya?

 "No."

 In a Feb. 5, 2009, session in which Myrow saw Hassan alone, Myrow read from notes indicating that Hassan had complained that he was angry that Aasiya continued to refuse to respect his feelings and try to dominate him.

Hassan repeatedly focused on her efforts to take the children to Pakistan every year to see her family, felt that was too expensive, Myrow said, and felt she had lied about his behavior to her family.

Myrow tried to listen, and express sympathy, and reminded Hassan that he has an extensive network of friends and family to rely on for support, but this wasn't enough for Hassan, Myrow recalled.

Hassan wanted Myrow to "confront" her over her tactics, something Myrow said he couldn't do.

 

 2:08 p.m. The testimony of David Myrow, the Hassan family therapist, continues to have a stop-and-start feel to it.

Myrow at one point rebuffed Hassan's questioning by saying he didn't recall a particular conversation, even when asked to read his session notes to refresh his memory. Franczyk then told Hassan to move on, and Hassan paused for a few moments to consult with his legal adviser Jeremy Schwartz before asking his next question.

He then went back to December 2007 and asked Myrow to recall a conversation in which Hassan said he felt he was unable to express his opinions and feelings to Aasiya and felt like he was under Aasiya's control.

Hassan said this in an e-mail to Myrow. Myrow at first had trouble recalling this before acknowledging to Franczyk that he did remember Hassan saying this to him.

There was another delay of a few moments before Hassan asked another question about his complaints that Aasiya wasn't kind enough and gentle enough to him, referring to their marriage as a "total dictatorship" under Aasiya's control. Hassan said he made these complaints to Myrow in December 2007. Myrow is again referring back to his notes.

"Let's move it along please," Franczyk said, following yet another objection from the prosecution in response to a Hassan question.

"Can't we focus on what was done in the sessions," an exasperated Franczyk said a few minutes later, urging Hassan to stay away in his questioning from e-mails he sent that haven't been entered into evidence.

 

1:59 p.m. David Myrow, a family therapist who worked with Hassan and his wife, Aasiya, is continuing his testimony under questioning from Hassan.

He referred to notes from an early January session with the Hassans that indicate Aasiya had told him that she felt safer now that Hassan was out of their home and living in a hotel. Aasiya said she would visit Hassan at the hotel after working with Hassan all day at their Bridges TV studio.

"She says, convincingly, things are better now," Myrow said. Hassan has stopped nagging her about things, especially problems from the past, and Hassan told Myrow that he believes their marriage is better as well.

On Jan. 15, 2008, Hassan shared with Myrow a roadmap, or plan, to a better marriage that he had worked out. It was meant to help the couple work on communication and respect issues.

Myrow said he was surprised to see this plan and it seemed like there was a real effort to improve communications within the marriage and it was a plan that might be helpful.

Aasiya, according to this roadmap, was to work harder to find compromise, respect boundaries, and make Hassan feel safe enough to share his opinions without fear of "punishments," though Myrow said he didn't know what that meant.

 

1:46 p.m. The jury has returned from a brief break.

 

1:42 p.m. Even Hassan is concerned about the pace of the testimony of David Myrow, his witness and a Hassan family therapist.

After going seemingly day by day through the couple's sessions with Myrow, he told the witness, "In the interest of time I'm skipping things."

He asked Myrow to read from a Sept. 6, 2007, session note that stated Hassan had told Myrow he was scared of threats from Aasiya, his wife, and kept his guard up.

Skipping ahead, to notes from an Oct. 30, 2007, individual session with Aasiya, Myrow read that he observed she got histrionic at times --- dramatic about how she feels, he explained to the jury --- and that she had told him that a fiance of hers had previously died in a small plane crash.

Following this tragedy, her father had encouraged her to lead an independent life, something unusual for a woman of her cultural background. This is one reason, Aasiya told Myrow, that she wanted to earn an MBA and Hassan has previously testified that this is one reason she chose to marry him and move to the United States.

 

1:29 p.m. David Myrow, the Hassan family therapist, has continued testifying, under questioning from Hassan, to his sessions with Hassan and Aasiya in the summer of 2007.

Hassan in some cases is asking Myrow to go session by session through his interactions with the couple, asking him to read a paragraph here and a sentence there from his session notes. Myrow at times has had trouble finding the parts of the notes to which Hassan is referring. 

Reading from an Aug. 3, 2007 session, Myrow said Hassan had told him then that he felt closer to Aasiya than he had recently because she seemed to have let down some of the emotional wall that she had put up.

Then, Hassan asked Myrow to read from an Aug. 10 set of session notes, in which Hassan said "I have to deal with an Iron Curtain. She doesn't want to hear about her shortcomings."

 

1:19 a.m. Now that the notes from David Myrow's sessions from Hassan and Aasiya have been entered into evidence, Hassan's questioning and Myrow's testimony have picked up pace.

Hassan asked the family therapist about one note from a session with the Hassans, and questioned whether the notes detail a discussion of a vasectomy for Hassan and whether the couple would have another child.

The note indicates that Aasiya got pregnant, after taking steps not to get pregnant, and later miscarried following a physical confrontation or confrontations of some kind, between the Hassans. It also refers to an abortion that Aasiya previously had. 

Myrow then quoted from Hassan's words in the session, when he said that he had trouble being heard and making his opinion known in the marriage. Hassan had recalled to Myrow Aasiya's purported put-down that he was nothing more than "a sperm donor."

Myrow then testified, again reading from his session notes, that Hassan told the therapist about arguments the couple into on a trip to Canada to visit a Hassan cousin.

 

1:11 p.m. The testimony of David Myrow, the Hassan family therapist, under questioning from Hassan continues to move at a glacial pace.

Hassan has now won Franczyk's approal to enter Myrow's notes from his meetings with the Hassans into evidence, allowing Hassan to ask Myrow specific questions about the notes and to read from them if necessary.

The notes were entered into evidence following a few minutes of consultation among prosecutors Colleen Curtin Gable and Paul Bonanno and Hassan's legal advisers Jeremy Schwartz and Elizabeth Bruce.

 

1:03 p.m. Hassan, who appears to be struggling to ask specific questions at time, and there are pauses between the ends of David Myrow's answers and the beginning of the next question as Hassan consults his legal adviser Jeremy Schwartz.

Franczyk, in response to an objection from the prosecution, reminded Hassan that the family therapist can't be asked to read from a document that isn't in evidence but he can be asked about what happened in a particular session or on a particular day.

Hassan has been referring to "reports" that Myrow produced following his sessions with the Hassans, or Aasiya, while Myrow describes them as "progress notes."

Myrow said the notes are "observations or guesses," and no more.

"They clearly cannot be definitive in any way. They can help paint a picture of what someone is experiencing," Myrow said.

Franczyk has chided Hassan for continuing to ask Myrow to testify about documents --- the notes --- that weren't entered into evidence and is urging him to change his line of questioning. This prompted another short delay in the trial as Hassan regrouped and tried to come up with another approach to his questioning.

 

12:50 p.m. The testimony of David Myrow, a family therapist who treated Aasiya and Hassan, has begun slowly.

In response to one question from Hassan, Myrow expressed concern that the answer would reveal privileged information about Aasiya. Franczyk, however, noted that Aasiya is dead and reminded Myrow that he had previously ruled that Myrow could testify about his treatment of and his interactions with Hassan and his wife.

Franczyk also concurred with Myrow that he is here as a "fact" witness and not an "expert" witness.

Myrow said Hassan initially called him on June 28, 2007.

But Hassan told Myrow there was an earlier e-mail, from Hassan, and he asked Myrow to read it to refresh his memory. Myrow now concedes there was an earlier e-mail from Hassan from March 7, 2007, seeking Myrow's assistance.

Myrow also talked about what he does to help married couples in his practice, including improving their communication skills.

"I help people find better ways to communicate with each other and understand each other," Myrow said, in response to Hassan's question.

 

12:40 p.m. This is the 13th day of the Hassan trial, and we will hear from the sixth and final witness for the defense. His name is David Myrow, and he is a family therapist who met with the Hassans. He is the only witness expected to testify today.

Myrow has taken the stand and the jury has returned to the courtroom. Myrow is being questioned by Hassan, who is asking him about his family therapy practice.

Nine jurors are wearing Sabres jerseys, sweatshirts or shirts. There are only three members of the public attending the trial, the lowest number yet for the trial.

 

Read News Staff Reporter Sandra Tan's account of Day 12 of the trial in "Expert, called by Hassan, hurts defense."

See The News' entire coverage of the Hassan case, including video and audio clips, on the Mo Hassan case topics page.

--Stephen T. Watson

 

 

Live chat with Assemblyman Sam Hoyt at 3 p.m.

The trial of Muzzammil "Mo" Hassan: Day 12

BUFFALO -- The murder trial of Muzzammil "Mo" Hassan continues today.

Hassan, 46, is accused of stabbing and beheading his wife, Aasiya Zubair Hassan, at an Orchard Park television station Feb. 12, 2009. Hassan turned himself in the same night.

Erie County Court Judge Thomas P. Franczyk has allowed Hassan to represent himself.

 -----

Audio from Hassan legal adviser Jeremy D. Schwartz following today's sessions:

5 p.m.: The jury should receive the case for deliberations on Monday, according to the judge. This will happen after the defense calls its last witness, a former family therapist, tomorrow. Both sides to make closing arguments Monday morning before the matter is ideally delivered to the jury for deliberation by lunchtime.

That's it for this live blog. Thanks for reading. Review all the day's developments below. The live blog will continue Friday with Day 13.

4:45 p.m.: Bonanno is now conducting the cross-examination of Dr. Horwitz, the doctor and defense witness who performed a personality analysis on the defendant.

Bonanno reconfirmed with Horwitz that abusers isolate victims from their family, are often in denial and blame the victim, leave their victims financially dependent and spend lots of time ruminating on the victim's faults.

He also had Horwitz confirm that abusers who ultimately kill their spouses "overkill" them, using "a level of violence that is excessive and unnecessary." Stabbing is a common means of killing a victim in such cases.

4:27 p.m.: Hassan asks a question about manipulation. Horwitz flatly responds, "I don't know." He's been on the witness stand for more than two hours now. And Hassan just announced he's finished with his questions. Judge called for a 10 minute recess then will allow the prosecutors to begin their redirect.

4:22 p.m.: Hassan asks why abusers need so much control. "I think I've already answered that..." begins Horwitz. "Need not repeat," says Franczyk. "Asked and answered." And a few moments later Franczyk reprimands the defendant for asking questions that have already been asked. "Please move on to something we have yet to cover," he said.

4:19 p.m.: Hassan often asks the witness if he's familiar with certain medical literature and books about abuse.

4:14 p.m.: Defendant and witness are talking about "overkill" in spousal homicides, how abusers often use more violence than necessary to kill their victims, such as repeatedly stabbing them. Hassan thinks Horwitz is referring to victims killing their abusers, but Horwitz clarifies that he's talking about abusers killing their victims.

4:00 p.m.: Hassan asks Horwitz what he would call abusers' behavior. "Would you call it an 'evil dragon'?" Hassan asks, which is followed by an objection. Horwitz says he doesn't use that term. "That's my term," says Hassan.

3:57 p.m.: Hassan asks about the manipulative nature of abusers. Horwitz agrees abusers are very manipulative. Hassan asks if this is akin to "brainwashing" and questions Horwitz about abusers' "brainwashing powers."

3:49 p.m.: Hassan often begins his questions to Horwitz with "In your medical expertise..."

3:42 p.m.: Hassan again asks Horwitz to describe the battered spouse syndrome.

3:23 p.m.: Horwitz seems reluctant to give more than broad answers. Horwitz says to Hassan, "I think you have a particular paradigm you're trying to bring forward ... I think that's where the disconnect is here." Franczyk calls for a five minute recess.

3:16 p.m.: Hassan asks why a battered spouse stays in the relationship. Horwitz says they often believe an abuser will reform, and later often stay out of fear. He references a study that found that most spousal killings happen within the first two months of when a victim leaves the relationship.

3:09 p.m.: Horwitz defines the "battered spouse syndrome," which sees (mostly) women recanting testimony or not pressing charges against abusers, he says. But it's not like pregnancy, he says, where "you either have it or you don't."

3:03 p.m.: Long pauses in the courtroom between questions so Hassan can reference a medical book of psychological disorders and confer with his legal advisor. Hassan asks, "Can an abuser be delusional?" but the prosecution's objection is sustained. Judge wants Hassan to properly phrase questions. "I'm learning," Hassan says. "Well, this is not a tutorial," replies Franczyk.

2:56 p.m.: Hassan questions Horwitz about whether children can identify with the abuser in violent relationships. "Objection, your honor," says prosecutor Bonanno. "It's a very clear question," replies Hassan. Hassan's questions seem to be trying to frame Aasiya as the abuser in their marriage.

2:51 p.m.: Hassan jury looks distracted and bored at times. One juror looking at the floor while testimony continues.

2:48 p.m.: Hassan asks about women abusers -- how would they use psychological abuse rather than physical abuse? Putdowns and other attacks on abilities, looks, etc. replies Horwitz.

2:44 p.m.: "Are there types of abuse besides physical?" asks Hassan "Yes," replies Horwitz. "Such as?" asks Hassan. Horwitz then goes into explanation of verbal abuse and other types.

2:34 p.m.: Hassan questioning Horwitz about traits of abusers. "I think this is getting a little hard for me to follow," said Horwitz.

Horowitz then describes characteristics of personality traits, primarily that they are "overcontrolling."

2:28 p.m.:  Hassan questions his expert witness about what causes someone to become an abuser. Studies of abusive relationships show a pattern of degree of rejection by parents, Horwitz said.

2:21 p.m.: Hassan scored low on "interpersonally respectful" aspect of personality profile test and has a compulsive personality, says Horwitz.

2:17 p.m.: Hassan earlier said he expects Horwitz's testimony to take three hours.  Hassan is questioning him about personality profile tests and terminology associated with the tests.

2:10 p.m.: The trial has returned from its lunch recess. Hassan begins proceedings by bringing up a problem with getting access to e-mails. Back-and-forth between Franczyk and Hassan gets heated as judge is clearly frustrated with the pace of the trial that took nearly two years to begin. "Save it for the jury," Franczyk finally tells Hassan. Jury has just been seated. Hassan has called Dr. Gary Horwitz to the stand.

12:36 p.m.: Direct examination of Dr. Horwitz will begin at 2 p.m. Lunch break until then.

12:30 p.m.: Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable wants to know what Dr. Horwitz would be allowed to say on the stand. Also asks for a break before his testimony so they can prepare.

12:24 p.m.: They're now discussing whether Dr. Horwitz will be allowed to testify on the battered spouse issue. Judge says Hassan has a history of calling witnesses that appear to be "adverse to your cause."

12:17 p.m.: During cross examination, Telesco describes Hassan as "controlling and demanding" and Aasiya and "friendly and outgoing" except when she was in the presence of the defendant, in which case she became quiet and "did what she was told."

Jury is sent to the jury room so the judge, prosecution and defense can address matters. Franczyk seems concerned with where Hassan's defense strategy is headed considering the last three "defense" witnesses he's called, all of whom gave very damaging testimony against Hassan. "Is it still your intent to proceed down this path?" asks judge. Hassan says it is.

12:12 p.m.: Judge says Hassan is "trying to impeach his own witness" by suggesting doctor didn't have all the facts. Hassan has finished his re-direct and called Kristina Telesco, administrative assistant at Bridges TV, to the stand. Hassan says "hi" to Telesco when she takes the stand but Telesco says nothing in response. Telesco says Mo Hassan has a controlling personality and is very demanding. Aasiya, by contrast, was outgoing, friendly and quiet. Questioning lasts only a few minutes. "Did you ever see me hit Aasiya?" "No," says Telesco. "That's all your honor," says Hassan.

12:04 p.m.: Doctor is reviewing notes from a visit when "pleasant lady" Aasiya described pain from falls she sustained when she was pregnant. Doctor says often patients make excuses for injuries when they were actually caused by domestic violence.

12:00 p.m.: Mo Hassan never presented any traumatic injuries that would suggest domestic violence during a visit to the doctor's office, according to Dilamarter. Bonanno has finished his cross-exam and Hassan has begun his redirect.

11:55 a.m.: Dilamarter says Aasiya showed signs of domestic abuse even before she began reporting them in 2006. She reported three injuries during prior doctor's visits that she attributed to falls but had no neurological condition that would cause frequent falls "for no reason."

11:47 a.m.: Hassan has finished questioning his family doctor. The prosecution begins its cross-examination led by assistant district attorney Paul Bonanno. They're reviewing a note written by Dilamarter's physician's assistant about a domestic violence incident.

11:40 a.m.: Dilamarter asked to review medical progress not from a case in which he personally examined Aasiya for injuries related to domestic abuse. Hassan asks Dilamarter if he ever tried to get Hassan's side of the story. Dilamarter responds that he saw Hassan the next day.

"You admitted to me that you hurt her," he says.

"I did not," Hassan angrily replies.

Dilamarter says Hassan directly admitted to him that he struck his wife and was ashamed of his behavior.

11:27 a.m.: Franczyk has called for a five minute recess as Dilamarter finished reviewing another evaluation of Aasiya.

11:15 a.m.:  When Aasiya was examined in June 2007, she was told to get out of the "hostile environment" she was living in. Now they're talking about domestic violence counseling that Aasiya had received. Dilmarter says, "I think she'd had enough of counseling." He adds, "I think she'd been beaten up enough and counseling wasn't doing any good."

11:04 a.m.: Hassan is asking why Aasiya would ask for the morning after pill from her doctor when Mo Hassan had received a vasectomy. It's met with objections from prosecutors. "You're leading him now, he's your witness. So ask questions in proper form," said Franczyk.

10:58 a.m.: Hassan asks if Dilamarter recalls Aasiya having dark circles under her eyes as a natural pigmentation. Dilamarter does not recall.

10:45 a.m.: Hassan's general questions to Dilamarter about domestic violence patients are being met with objections from the prosecutors. They're sustained by Judge Franczyk. Dilamarter is reading notes from another doctor's physical exam of Aasiya Hassan. Mo Hassan is making the argument that the only evidence of domestic violence against Aasiya is from her own words.

10:34 a.m.: The jury has been seated. Dr. Thomas Dilamarter, a family practice physician and Hassan's doctor, has taken the stand. Hassan is questioning him about how domestic violence patients are treated. Dilamarter said he has seen Hassan approximately 20 times as a patient.

10:17 a.m.: Defense adviser Jeremy Schwartz says the defense has at least three witnesses waiting to testify. Prosecutors and the defendant are discussing some housekeeping matters such as whether Family Court transcripts will be brought up. The jury has not been seated yet.

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The trial of Muzzammil Hassan: Day 11

BUFFALO -- The murder trial of Muzzammil "Mo" Hassan continued today with the prosecution's cross examination of Hassan.

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

Erie County Court Judge Thomas P. Franczyk has allowed Hassan to represent himself.

Review today's developments in the trial, including Hassan's questioning of his daughter, below:

6:10 p.m.: Jeremy Schwartz, a defense attorney serving as Hassan's legal advisor, told reporters outside of the courtroom that Hassan "maintained his composure" during cross examination. 

Schwartz also said that Hassan's daughter, Sonia Hassan, was "clearly a reluctant witness."

"Mr. Hassan has expressed that he believed that Sonia was alienated from him," Schwartz said when asked what the value of calling a reluctant witness would be. "And I expect that he may bring that up on summation."

Listen to Schwartz's comments in this audio clip:

***

5:31 p.m.: The trial is scheduled to resume at 10 a.m. Thursday. 

***

5:29 p.m.: Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable asked Sonia Hassan to clarify whether she believed what she wrote in a 2008 letter in which she stated her father was not a threat.

"Did you in fact feel that the safety of yourself and your siblings was in danger with him at home?" Curtin Gable asked Hassan's daughter in redirect questioning. 

"Definitely, yes," Sonia Hassan replied. 

After the jury left the courtroom, Hassan told the judge he no longer plans to call his son, Michael, back to the witness stand.

***

5:23 p.m.: Sonia Hassan, who is now on the stand, said she didn't recall exactly when she learned that Aasiya Hassan planned to file for divorce.

On two occasions, Sonia Hassan testified, she went to the office of the divorce attorney. 

"Did I ever share with you why I believe Aasiya filed for divorce?" Hassan asked. 

Sonia Hassan replied that he couldn't have because there was a "stay-away" order of protection against him at the time that prohibited him from talking to his children.

Hassan also asked his daughter if she remembered whether Aasiya Hassan needed to go on a trip to China to earn her business degree.

"I think, when she was supposed to be going, she was dead," Sonia Hassan replied.

***

5:18 p.m.: Hassan's questioning of his daughter has skipped from event to event as she offers brief responses or says she does not recall things he is asking about.

Hassan asked Sonia Hassan to look at a picture of herself and asked if she recognized what she was wearing and where she got the outfit.

"You brought them back from Pakistan," Sonia Hassan replied. "And I believe I only wore those once, for those pictures." 

When Hassan asked her if she recalled that there was an order of protection against him when he returned from a trip to Dubai, Sonia Hassan responded: "You're having me jump around all over the place. It's hard to get my thoughts straight, but I don't really remember that specific incident."  

***

5:07 p.m.: Hassan has centered several of his questions to his daughter, Sonia Hassan, on Aasiya Hassan's trip to South Africa. 

Hassan asked Sonia Hassan if she knew why Aasiya Hassan wanted to go on the trip.

Sonia Hassan replied that Aasiya Hassan had "wanted to go because she needed medical help done and she knew she wasn't going to be able to get it here in the United States." It had also been a long time, Sonia Hassan said, since Aasiya Hassan had seen her family.

Sonia Hassan told her father she did not recall being told how her mother bought tickets for the trip.

***

4:56 p.m.: Hassan has asked his daughter to explain a hand-written letter she wrote on Jan. 3, 2008.

His daughter, Sonia Hassan, started her explanation by saying that there was a child protection services investigation going on at the time she wrote it.

"Aasiya wanted, for some reason, for you to come back to the house," Sonia testified. "So I was asked to write this letter because I had been previously blamed for most of the reasons why CPS was involved."

She added that she could also testify "that I did not believe in any of the sentences I wrote."

The letter, she said, stated that she didn't believe her father was a threat.

Sonia Hassan said she did not recall who asked her to write the letter and that it was possible it was Hassan who told her to write the letter.

***

4:46 p.m.: The pace of Hassan's questioning of his daughter, Sonia, is proceeding slowly as he asks her about events that she says she does not recall. 

***

4:45 p.m.: Hassan, who is now questioning his daughter, Sonia, asked her about a trip they took to New York City after her graduation.

Sonia said her father and his brother "wanted to go to New York City" so he "phrased it as a graduation gift to me to go to New York City."

Hassan then asked whether he allowed Sonia Hassan to choose what musical to see on Broadway during the trip.

"Who chose the show?" Hassan asked. 

"I did," Sonia Hasan replied. 

"Does that make me a controlling person or a caring father?" Hassan asked. 

Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable objected to the question.

"Sustained," Franczyk said.

***

4:37 p.m.: Hassan's daughter, Sonia, was on the witness stand for about 15 minutes before the judge asked the jurors to leave the room so he could discuss an objection from the prosecution.

The judge also asked Sonia Hassan to leave the room.

Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable objected to a line of questioning made by Hassan that she said would be "collateral impeachment."

The judge cut off the line of questioning after hearing arguments.

***

4:20 p.m.: Hassan's oldest daughter, Sonia, has returned to the witness stand. Hassan has questioned her about whether she recognizes people in a photograph and what name Aasiya Hassan encouraged her to call her after a trip to London. 

After Sonia said she did not recognize the people in the photograph aside from Hassan and did not recall what name he was talking about, Hassan moved on to different questions.

Sonia has not made eye contact with her father as she answers the questions. Instead she has spent most of the time looking down or toward the jurors. Hassan is seated at the defense table.

***

4:10 p.m.: Franczyk has several times scolded Hassan for adding commentary to his remarks.

During an exchange this afternoon -- while the jury was out of the room -- Hassan made a comment about prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable that elicited a rebuke.

"She likes to object, your honor," Hassan said. 

"Please do not engage in gratuitous commentary," Franczyk said.

"I was speaking to myself," Hassan then said.

"You were speaking to be heard," the judge replied. 

***

4 p.m.: Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable spent only a brief time questioning Hassan after his redirect testimony. Her questions focused on whether Hassan knew that an alarm would go off if he disabled a surveillance camera at the Bridges TV the night of Aasiya Hasan's death.

"It was something that hadn't even crossed my mind," Hassan said.

Curtin Gable noted that had Hassan turned off the surveillance camera and triggered the alarm, his wife would have known he was in the building.

Hassan has left the witness stand.

***

3:59 p.m.: Hassan has offered a lengthy explanation as to why he called Franczyk's courtroom "voodoo justice" and "kangaroo court."

The name-calling, Hassan said, occurred only during a three-month period when he felt he was running up "against a paradigm." 

At the time, Hassan told the jurors, he had refused to come to court, but was dragged in by officers. He felt, he said, he was "not getting justice in this court."

"What my beef was with the judge here was he had turned down, I guess, a motion... ," said Hassan, who then turned to the judge and asked Franczyk to acknowledge whether it was a motion.

"I'm not your witness," Franczyk replied.

Hassan also explained why he had called the prosecutor and the district attorney names. 

The explanations are part of a lengthy list of items Hassan is working his way through to counter points the prosecution made during cross examination.

***

3:42 p.m.: Hassan, who is now offering his redirect testimony, said that he didn't "blame" his children for a March 2008 incident in which he, his wife and his two oldest children got into a fight.

Hassan called the children the "initial aggressors" in the fight, but said he "reacted badly as the adult" and that he "felt horrified by that."

"I don't blame my children at all," Hassan said. "I feel they were being inflamed and they were being used and they were too young to really know the difference."

Hassan's son, Michael, has previously testified that his nose was split open during the fight when Hassan punched him. 

***

3:32 p.m.: During a five-minute break given to the jury, Franczyk warned Hassan that he wanted the defendant to be "laser-like" in his redirect testimony. The judge told Hassan to limit his remarks to specific responses to points the prosecution has made.

***

3:31 p.m.: Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable asked Hassan to clarify whether it was his testimony that angels had helped him kill his wife.

"Do you believe that angels helped you stab your wife 40-some times?" asked Curtin Gable, referring to a statement Hassan had made to a psychiatrist.

Hassan replied that it was an analogy.

"It was me, but it wasn't really me," Hassan said. "Like, I could almost see me doing it rather than … it's hard to explain."

He continued, "I just saw, I was face to face with evil."

Curtin Gable ended her cross examination of Hassan with a series of questions about what he believed about abusers.

"You agree that what abusers fear most of all is exposure?" she asked.

"I do," Hassan replied.

***

3:24 p.m.: Hassan's family was "shocked" when they received a letter Hassan wrote from jail to WBEN radio host Tom Bauerle purporting to be from Hassan's mother, prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable said. 

The family members, who live in Texas, sent the letter to prosecutors after they received it. 

Curtin Gable said Hassan forgot to put Bauerle's address on the letter, which was postmarked from Buffalo. The letter instead went to the return address, which was his mother's home.

The letter was one of two Hassan wrote purporting to be from his mother, Curtin Gable said. The other was sent to News Staff Reporter Sandra Tan.

Despite Curtin Gable's questions, Hassan insisted it was his mother who wrote the letters and that he simply translated them for her.

Curtin Gable, however, asked Hassan to acknowledge that his mother does not speak or read English.

"Your brother and your mother were shocked when they got that letter in Texas, were you aware of that?" Curtin Gable asked.

Hassan also acknowledged to the prosecutor that he called people with whom he did not agree names.

Hassan acknowledged that he called the district attorney "dumbo" and that he called his wife "Darth Vader," a "monster" and an "evil dragon." He also acknowledged that he called the court a "voodoo justice" and a "kangaroo court." 

Hassan told Curtin Gable that he used the term "evil dragon" to refer to his wife's "disease."

***

3:12 p.m.: Hassan never reported a threat he claims Aasiya Hassan made against him to police.

During the incident, which Hassan testified to yesterday, Hassan contends his wife told him she wanted to put a knife through him as she was cutting meat.

"Those were just words that she said to you, correct?" Curtin Gable asked.

"Correct," Hassan said.

Shortly after the alleged threat, Hassan got into a van and traveled to Toronto with his wife and children.

Curtin Gable has asked Hassan to acknowledge that he never told police about physical abuse by his wife and never told his medical doctors that he had been injured by her. 

***

3:04 p.m.: Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable is now asking Hassan to acknowledge a series of police reports that detail incidents in which he abused his wife.

The police reports were entered into evidence by Hassan, opening up the prosecution to question him about them.

A 2007 report from a police station in the Dallas area states that Aasiya Hassan told police then that Hassan sat on her, pinned her down and bruised her leg.

At the time of the incident, Curtin Gable noted, there was an order of protection against Hassan that allowed him to be near his wife, but prohibited him from striking her or harassing her.

***

2:53 p.m.: Aasiya Hassan told police in August 2006 of several incidents in which she said Hassan punched her, dragged her or sat on her, prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable said.

Curtin Gable, reading from a police report, said Aasiya told police "that this has been going on for six years."

At the time Aasiya Hassan filed the report, Curtin Gable noted, Hassan was out of town and couldn't talk his wife out of going to the police.

The police report is one of several that Hassan asked to have entered into evidence. Curtin Gable is focusing several questions on the reports. 

***

2:45 p.m.: Hassan said he used a business template to draw up a "memorandum of understanding" signed by himself and his wife in March 2008.

The agreement -- one of two that prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable is now focusing on -- set out punishments for Aasiya Hassan if she did not follow a set of rules that included not contacting police.

"So you used a business template to define your marriage, is that what you're saying?" Curtin Gable said. 

The document outlines several punishments for Aasiya Hassan, including not being able to travel to Pakistan to visit her family.

Curtin Gable also asked about a second agreement signed in June 2007 between Hassan and Aasiya Hassan entitled "Mo's Basic Needs." She asked Hassan to acknowledge that the document does not list physical abuse among 13 "behaviors" the document says Aasiya Hassan was not to use.

Hassan said it was included in the words "temper tantrums."

"Her temper tantrums include physical because every time she blows up, that's inclusive," Hassan said.

Curtin Gable has also asked Hassan about his first two divorces and whether those were different than with Aasiya Hassan. During the earlier divorces, the prosecutor noted, Hassan was younger and did not have as much money.

But when Aasiya Hassan filed for divorce, his reputation was at risk, Curtin Gable asked Hassan to acknowledge.

"One of the reasons was you didn't want your reputation hurt," Curtin Gable said.

"Nobody does," Hassan said. Franczyk admonished Hassan for later responding -- "Do you?" -- when Curtin Gable asked a similar question again. 

***

 

2:25 p.m.: Hassan has returned to the witness stand. The jury is about the enter the courtroom.

***

2:13 p.m.: Franczyk is on the bench hearing other cases. Hassan has not yet returned to the courtroom.

***

2:10 p.m.: The courtroom gallery is full of spectators and members of the press who are waiting for the cross examination of Hassan to resume.

***

1:30 p.m.: Read a timeline, based on Hassan's testimony, of the week-long chronology leading up to the slaying. Read News Staff Reporter Matt Gryta's account of the morning's cross examination in "Hassan says he 'blacked out' when beheading wife." Read News Columnist Donn Esmonde's taken on Hassan's defense strategy in "Mo as victim? Twisted logic is his alone."

***

12:45 p.m.: Franczyk has given the jurors a break for lunch until shortly after 2 p.m.

*** 

12:43 p.m.: Hassan disputed a question by prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable that suggested that within three hours of killing his wife he was considering hiring a female defense attorney because he thought it would help his image. 

Hassan had written the words "pref female" on a list he made at the Orchard Park police station that night. The list also contained the names of attorneys and phone numbers.

Hassan told Curtin Gable that the words referred to an earlier discussion he had with a female friend, not what attorney to hire.

He also wrote the words represent "high profile."

Curtin Gable asked if he was already considering that his case would be "high-profile" at that point. 

Hassan said that was the term police had used.

***

12:35 p.m.: Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable asked Hassan to acknowledge that he "didn't shed a tear" after he arrived at the Orchard Park police station the night he attacked his wife.

"You didn't shed a tear there, correct?" Curtin Gable asked.

"No," Hassan said.

"Not one sign of remorse, correct?" Curtin Gable asked.

"No, I felt relief," Hassan said.

"Relief, not regret?" Curtin Gable clarified.

Hassan then said he "felt regret that things came to that" and relief that he had managed to escape a "terrorist." 

Curtin Gable then asked him to clarify that he was calling his wife a "terrorist."

***

12:26 p.m.: Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable asked Hassan to acknowledge that he could have stayed in an office in the Bridges TV building when he was waiting for his wife, rather than meet her in the hallway.

"You didn't have to walk into the hallway, did you?" Curtin Gable asked.

"No, but I'm used to doing what she tells me to do," Hassan said. 

Hassan also did not call the police or do other things that could have kept him safe if he was afraid, Curtin Gable noted.

"My question is, you chose not to stay in that office with the door closed or locked, yes or no?" Curtin Gable asked.

"Yes," Hassan said.

Hassan also acknowledged that he was about twice the weight of his wife and that he could have just pushed her down when he thought she had a knife in the hallway.

***

12:19 p.m.: Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable has asked Hassan to acknowledge that he did not tell his wife that he was waiting in the dark at the Bridges TV offices when she dropped off a bag of clean items on the night of her death.

"My question is, you didn't tell her, 'I'm at the office and I'll be here when you drop the stuff off?'" Curtin Gable asked.

Hassan said that he did not.

Hassan also told Curtin Gable that he brought the second knife into the office that night because he wanted to "gift wrap" it for his friend.

Hassan said he didn't turn the lights on as he waited at the office because he didn't want his wife to come into the building.

Hassan also told Curtin Gable that he took the knives out of their protective sheaths and put them in his pockets as he waited at the office. 

After the murder, Hassan sent a text message to someone, stating "call my father" and added his father's phone number. The message also said, "urgent," Curtin Gable said.

***

12:12 p.m.: Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable has held up one of the two murder weapons and has asked Hassan a series of questions about why he chose to buy two hunting knives at Walmart the day of his wife's death. 

"You chose this hunting knife, didn't you?" Curtin Gable asked.

Hassan has said he bought one of the knives for protection and that he bought a second for a friend to cut wood kindling. 

Hassan tried the knife out on a piece of cardboard at the store, an earlier witness has testified. 

"And you liked the way that it cut?" Curtin Gable asked.

Hassan said he was told by the clerk that the knives would cut wood.

"You just bought the two knives and then you told the clerk to have a good day," Curtin Gable said.

Hassan then drove to the Bridges TV station, rather than other places in Orchard Park or Hamburg such as the mall or a restaurant, the prosecutor noted.

"So you went to the one place where you knew your wife would be arriving shortly, correct?" Curtin Gable asked.

***

11:59 a.m.: Hassan told prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable that he did not yell out during a meeting in a Bridges TV conference room in which he claims Aasiya Hassan held a knife to his throat because he did not "talk personal matters" to his employees.

He also did not report the incident to Orchard Park police, Hassan acknowledged.

"I was trying to solve our problems through counselors and doctors and not through police and so forth," Hassan said.

Curtin Gable then asked Hassan to acknowledge that later that day he "ultimately solved the problem with two knives."

She also asked him to acknowledge that if he had reported the alleged incident in which his wife held a knife to his throat it could have helped him in the divorce.

"No, because I thought... " Hassan said.

"The answer no will stand," said Franczyk, cutting off Hassan's additional explanation. The judge has asked Hassan to save any additional explanations until after the cross examination has been completed.

***

11:52 a.m.: Hassan went back and forth between being OK with the divorce and appearing upset by it, according to texts prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable has read out loud. 

"Yeah, it was a very rollercoaster week," Hassan told Curtin Gable.

***

11:51 a.m.: Hassan told prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable that he withdrew $90,000 from an M&T Bank account and deposited it in a Bank of America account after being served with divorce papers to protect his children's college funds.

Curtin Gable, however, asked Hassan to acknowledge that at that point, he was not supposed to move money around because of the divorce papers.

Hassan did not hire a divorce attorney in the week after receiving the papers.

"You were convinced that you could talk her out of filing for divorce, correct?" Curtin Gable asked. 

Hassan said he was not convinced of that. He also told the prosecutor he believed the divorce was another one of his wife's "attacks."

***

11:42 a.m.: Hassan sent a series of texts to Aasiya Hassan after the divorce papers were served begging her to talk to him.

In the texts, Hassan told Aasiya Hassan that he was collapsing, that she couldn't raise the children alone and that the Bridges TV station was in peril because of a decision by Dish Network not to renew its contract. On another day, he told her by text message that he had done some reading on "fixing my condemning attitude" and that he felt "light and good" with the discovery.

He also sent texts to his children in an attempt to get a message to his wife during that week.

At one point, Aasiya Hassan responded: "No, there is not much left to talk or listen to." At another point, she told him she was not ignoring him, but that the volume on her phone was turned down.

Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable is reading from a series of text messages sent from Hassan's phone that week and asking Hassan to acknowledge them. 

***

11:30 a.m.: On the night Hassan received his divorce papers, he sent a series of texts to his two oldest children asking to talk them.

Then he sent a text to Aasiya Hassan stating, "Please keep this amicable and let me talk to the kids … ," prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable read.

She has asked Hassan to acknowledge that he was angry that night when he was locked out of his house and broke a pane of glass.

"It's my house," Hassan answered to one of a series of questions about an incident in which he was placed in a police car that night after breaking the window.

That same night, Curtin Gable said, Hassan was advised of the details of the order of protection -- that he was to stay away from his Big Tree Road house, as well as to stay away from the children and from his wife outside regular business hours. 

***

11:21 a.m.: Hassan told prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable that he didn't entirely read through the divorce papers when he was served with them on Feb. 6, 2009.

Curtin Gable then asked why, as a businessman, he would not read through the papers.

"I didn't read through the whole thing because I knew what she was doing was another retaliation attack after I approached her family," Hassan said.

Curtin Gable, who is standing at a podium to conduct the cross examination, has repeated several of her questions after Hassan either failed to directly respond to the question or failed to answer with a "yes" or "no" response.

At several points, when Hassan has inserted additional information into his answers, the prosecutor has said, "Could you just answer my questions."

She asked Hassan to acknowledge that the divorce papers made him angry.

Hassan said the divorce papers included "false allegations" that would be bad for his "personal reputation."

"Weren't you concerned that if your personal reputation got marred, that that would affect Bridges TV? Curtin Gable asked.

"Of course it would," Hassan said.

***

11:10 a.m.: Hassan told prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable that he sat in his car for a few minutes after the attack and after seeing his children sitting in a cold van outside the television studio. 

"You knew it was only a matter of time that someone found out what you did, right?" Curtin Gable asked. 

"Well, I was going to go to the police and let them know," Hassan said.

Hassan said he was thinking at that point about giving his children about $5,000 he had withdrawn from the bank. He said he didn't stop to talk to his children when he first left the office after the attack because he was afraid of violating an order of protection.

"OK, you just killed your wife, and you want the jury to believe you're worried at that time about a protection order? Curtin Gable asked.

***

10:59 a.m.: Hassan has told prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable that he was not injured after the attack and that he did not, in fact, see his wife holding a knife when they met in the hallway moments before he killed her.

"At the time that you attacked her, you didn't see a knife in her hand, correct?" Curtin Gable asked.

"That's correct," Hassan said.

A few minutes later during the testimony, Hassan still insisted that he believed his wife had a knife. 

Curtin Gable asked Hassan to acknowledge that he "wasn't really in danger" when he started attacking his wife. 

He told the prosecutor that he believes he was in danger that night.

Curtin Gable then went through the list of items found on Aasiya Hassan's body, which did not include a knife, and asked Hassan to acknowledge that his wife was not carrying a knife.

***

10:56 a.m.: Hassan has told prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable that he doesn't remember the details of the attack on his wife.

Curtin Gable has asked a series of specific questions about how Hassan stabbed his wife and where he stabbed her.

"I want to focus on the attack because that's what you didn't do yesterday," Curtin Gable said.

Hassan's responses have acknowledged that he killed his wife, but he has answered several of the questions with similar responses.

"You stabbed her in the face?" Curtin Gable asked.

"If the wounds are there, then I did it, ma'am," Hassan responded.

Curtin Gable has asked Hassan to acknowledge that he had two knives in his hands during the attack, that he stabbed her different places and that she was on the ground when Hassan cut off her head.

"I personally don't have recollection of specific things happening," Hassan said.

Curtin Gable also asked Hassan whether he kicked or tossed his wife's head after he cut it off.

"I think it may have slid because of the blood on the floor," Hassan said.

"But that was because of actions you took, correct?" Curtin Gable asked. 

"In defending myself, yes," Hassan responded.

"You had to defend yourself when you were cutting off her head?" Curtin Gable asked.

"It had been a long time coming," Hassan said.

Hassan told the prosecutor that his wife did not scream during the attack and that after the attack he ran to the bathroom and dropped the knives. He explained taking off his bloody shirt and throwing it in a garbage can because he was "hot."

***

10:44 a.m.: Prosecutor Collen Curtin Gable opened her cross examination of Hassan by noting that in three-and-a-half days of testimony, Hassan spent about "two seconds" on the actual murder.

"You described killing your wife in just two words, 'things happened,' correct?" Curtin Gable asked. 

Hassan, who has answered some of the questions directly, but has also said he was "completely blacked out" during the murder, told Curtin Gable he didn't recall exactly what he said on the witness stand Tuesday.

"Let's start with Feb. 12, 2009," Curtin Gable then asked. "You killed your wife, correct?" 

"Yes," Hassan responded."

***

10:34 a.m.: Hassan has returned to the courtroom. Franczyk is setting the ground rules for his cross examination by the prosecution.

"Mr. Hassan, on cross examination, it's important that answers be responsive to the questions," Franczyk said. "So if the question calls for a yes or no answer, the answer should be yes or no."

Franczyk told Hassan that the questioning is not an opportunity for him to "rehash" his narrative testimony.

The jury is about the enter the courtroom.

***

10:31 a.m.: Franczyk on Tuesday told Hassan he hopes to have the case in the jury's hands by the end of the week. The defense has not yet fully outlined all of the witnesses Hassan plans to call. Schwartz told the judge this morning that all but one of the defense witnesses have been served with subpoenas.

*** 

10:23 a.m.: All of the seats in the courtroom are now either filled or reserved.

***

10:10 a.m.: Franczyk said he is waiting for the jury. Hassan is not yet in the courtroom.

***

10:07 a.m.: Jeremy Schwartz, Hassan's legal advisor, told the judge that Hassan's children are prepared to return to the witness stand this afternoon. He said Gary Horwitz is confirmed to appear Thursday. Horwitz was prepared to testify as the prosecution's psychiatric expert, but has been called by the defense. 

Prosecutor Collen Curtin Gable asked Schwartz to tell her later today who will be appearing on the witness stand on Thursday. 

***

10: a.m.: Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable is preparing for the trial to resume. She has moved two boxes that contain the hunting knives found at the murder scene to the prosecution's table. 

***

9:50 a.m.: Court is in session and Franczyk is on the bench hearing other cases. There are open seats in the courtroom, which has been rare during the 10 previous days of testimony.

***

Read News Staff Reporter Sandra Tan's account of Day 10 of the trial in "Hassan cites God for courage to kill wife."

See The News' entire coverage of the Hassan case, including video and audio clips, on the Mo Hassan case topics page.

--Denise Jewell Gee

The News' Heaney discusses Pegula on Bill Watters Show

The News' Jim Heaney appeared Tuesday on the Bill Watters Show on Talk Radio AM 640 in Toronto to discuss his story on Terry Pegula and the latest developments in the billionaire's efforts to buy the Sabres. Listen to his 13 minute interview here:

Read Heaney's story on Pegula, which appeared in Sunday's Buffalo News, here.

Schwartz: Hassan testimony has shown 'marked change of pace'

BUFFALO -- Prosecutors could begin their cross examination of Muzzammil "Mo" Hassan as early as this afternoon, Hassan's legal advisor told reporters at Erie County Court.

Attorney Jeremy Schwartz told reporters during a lunch break in the murder trial that it is a possibility that Hassan could wrap up his direct testimony this afternoon.

Hassan spent the morning describing the events of 2008 and had reached the week of Jan. 23, 2009, before the jurors were given a lunch break. Aasiya Zubair Hassan was murdered Feb. 12, 2009.

Schwartz did not speculate as to why Hassan had sped up his testimony this morning compared to previous days.

"What exactly affected his change of pace -- maybe he's just simply getting more used to it," Schwartz said. "I can't say specifically, but there definitely was a marked change of pace today."

Schwartz said the amount of time Hassan has taken to describe his side of the story is "relatively small" compared to his potential sentence.

"He's obviously taken a lot of time to do it, but in the event that he's convicted, the People are going to ask for him to serve a sentence that will amount to possibly the rest of his life in jail," Schwartz said. "So the amount of time he spent so far is relatively small in comparison to the ultimate punishment that they may ask for."

Listen to Schwartz's comments to reporters during today's lunch break: 

--Denise Jewell Gee

The trial of Muzzammil Hassan: Day 10

BUFFALO -- Muzzammil "Mo" Hassan wrapped up his lengthy narrative today of the events leading to his wife's February 2009 death.

Hassan, 46, is accused of stabbing and beheading his wife, Aasiya Zubair Hassan, at an Orchard Park television station on Feb. 12, 2009. Hassan turned himself in to Orchard Park police on the night of the death.

Erie County Court Judge Thomas P. Franczyk has allowed Hassan to represent himself.

Review today's events, including Hassan's description of the moments after he killed his wife, below:

5:35 p.m.: Listen to Hassan's legal advisor, Jeremy Schwartz, speak to reporters outside the courtroom this evening:

*** 

4:30 p.m.: Franczyk has ended the proceedings for the day. The trial is scheduled to resume at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Franczyk told the jurors they should contact the court in the morning in the case of a snow storm tonight.

*** 

4:26 p.m.: The jury has left the courtroom, and Hassan has stepped down from the witness stand. 

Franczyk ruled that he will allow Hassan to call his two oldest children, Sonia and Michael, back to the witness stand. The judge warned Hassan that he would not allow him to "intimidate, to brow beat" or "to cajole" them on the stand.  

*** 

4:22 p.m.: Hassan broke down in tears on the witness stand for the first time as he described the moment when he was driving to the police station after killing his wife.

Hassan, sobbing, testified he was "just talking to God to let someone hear my side and what had happened to me."

Hassan said he was worried that his children would also become like Aasiya Hassan.

"I don't blame Aasiya for becoming like that. I would tell her so many times that it's not your fault the way that you are," Hassan recalled thinking. "That it's treatable."

Hassan ended his direct narrative of the events in tears, telling the jury: "I just wanted someone to hear my side … and after that, whatever you decide is acceptable to me."

***

4:18 p.m.: Hassan told the jurors that when he went to Orchard Park Police Headquarters after killing his wife he felt "safe."

There was a lot of activity at the police station, he said, and he realized that his "whole story was so complicated." He said he was "very tired and very exhausted" so he invoked his right not to speak to police. 

"Emotionally, I was completely drained," Hassan said.

The thought of running to Pakistan, he said, never crossed his mind.

***

4:14 p.m.: Hassan told the jurors that he felt as though God gave him "extra courage" as he killed his wife.

"But at the very moment, like when all this happened, I mean, I did it, but I felt like it was not really me," Hassan told the jurors.

He described the experience like "watching some kind of movie."

Afterward, he said, he felt incredible relief.

"I felt like I had just escaped from a terrorist camp," Hassan recalled. "I felt that the whole weight of the world had just been lifted off my shoulders. I felt a sense of enormous peace, like I felt my struggle was not with Aasiya, it was with the evil dragon."

***

4:04 p.m.: Hassan told the jurors that he left his office in the late afternoon on Feb. 12, 2009, and went for a drive.

"I just badly needed fresh air," Hassan said.

As he drove, he said, his thoughts were like "mush." He had trouble telling his "thoughts" from his "feelings."

"In my heart, I'm just feeling like everything is collapsing," Hassan recalled. "There's a lot of things going through my head at this time."

Hassan told the jurors he considered leaving the country, but was concerned that his children would be raised by an abuser and their future would be ruined.

He felt that going to the legal system was a "closed door" because nobody believed him.

During the drive, he said, he ended up at Walmart, where he bought the two hunting knives. One of the knives, he told the jurors, was for a male friend and former co-worker who did not have a knife to cut wood. 

The day before, Hassan said, he told his wife he felt "like I'm a hostage at the mercy of a terrorist."

***

3:58 p.m.: During a lunchtime conversation in the conference room for Bridges TV on Feb. 12, 2009, Aasiya Hassan demanded to see his phone records, Hassan testified.

The two went through his phone records during the discussion, which lasted from 12 p.m. to about 3 p.m. 

"It was like a whole half an hour worth of interrogation of who I'm calling and so forth," Hassan recalled. 

When Hassan told Aasiya that he had discussed his mother's medication with his female friend, she told him, "She's making room for herself, and I'm not even out the door," Hassan recalled.

It was during that meeting in the conference room, Hassan testified, that Aasiya Hassan took out a kitchen knife and demanded that Hassan cut off discussions with the female friend.

Hassan said his wife's hand was shaking as she pulled out the knife.

"I just sat there, did not make any move," Hassan told the jurors.

Hassan said it was the "fourth time in four months" that Aasiya Hassan had threatened his life. First, he said, it was a threat of poison. On two other occasions, he said, she threatened him with a knife or to kill him in his sleep.

***

3:48 p.m.: On Feb. 8, 2009, Hassan sent his wife a text message saying he also felt divorce was the right step.

"I'm in agreement that divorce is the right course," Hassan read from a text message sent early that morning. "Your need for control prevents friendship from blossoming."

That week, he said, he brought her a toasted bagel with cream cheese -- her favorite -- from the hotel each morning.

On Feb. 9. 2009, he sent a text message to Aasiya Hassan that read: "I will feel loved if you can negotiate without weapons, but with love for me."

The text messages are among a series Hassan is reading from that were sent from his cell phone the week of Aasiya Hassan's death. 

***

3:32 p.m.: In a text message Hassan sent to a friend on Feb. 5, 2009, he discussed his view that he was being abused and bullied by Aasiya Hassan.

"I was too afraid to stand up to the bully. That's why I really appreciate you," he wrote at 9:54 p.m. Feb. 5, 2009, to the female friend.

A minute later, he wrote: "I think people see my gender, my size and our culture and they make stereotypes that this is not possible."

Hassan is reading from February 2009 text messages from his cell phone that were previously entered into evidence by a Sprint Nextel employee during the prosecution's presentation. 

***

3:23 p.m.: Hassan told the jurors that during a lunchtime meeting at their office on Feb. 11, 2009, Aasiya Hassan made more demands of him.

He testified that she asked for $10,000 each year so that she could go to Pakistan in exchange for dropping the divorce.

Hassan said Aasiya Hassan laughed and said the money would be less than child support.

"I said, 'Aasiya, this is not right for you to be negotiating with weapons like this,'" Hassan recalled.

Later in the day, Hassan said, his wife told him that she would have to think about withdrawing the divorce papers to protect her credibility and that the two would have to "take it slowly."

That night, he said, the two left "on good terms again."

***

3:17 p.m.: Hassan testified  that he told a counselor in early February 2009 that he considered Aasiya Hassan "to be a good person" and that he "didn't blame her."

"It's not her fault," Hassan recalled telling the counselor. "But it's just something that needs to be fixed."

It was her behavior, he said, that was "basically killing me." 

Hassan told the jurors that on the Sunday before Aasiya Hassan's death, the two were talking about getting back together. But the next day, he said, there were "more demands."

***

3:13 p.m.: The jury has returned.

***

3:11 p.m.: Hassan told the judge he expects to wrap up his narrative today of the events leading up to Aasiya Hassan's death.

The jury has left the room, and Hassan has asked the judge to submit a court transcript as evidence. The transcript, he told the judge, includes a diagnosis made of himself and Aasiya Hassan by a psychologist, Dr. Kenneth Condrell. Also in the pages, he said, Aasiya makes statements that negates earlier testimony.

Franczyk said he will not rule on whether the transcript can be admitted into evidence until prosecutors have had time to review the documents.

"Consider it offered and reserved," Franczyk said.

Hassan then told the judge that he hopes to read from the transcript after he finishes his direct narrative today. 

***

3:02 p.m.: Hassan has told the jurors that in the days leading up to receiving the divorce papers, Aasiya Hassan had been friendly and had brought him one of his favorite foods, chicken wings, for lunch.

He later learned, he said, that she had sought an order of protection around the same day.

"I'm thinking, she is having fun with me," Hassan recalled. "And then, behind my back, she's telling people she's afraid of me."

Hassan said he told a counselor that his wife's actions were like "constant terrorism." He described the police reports and the order of protection like a "gun is put to my head" because he had to do what was demanded of him.

***

2:53 p.m.: Hassan told the jurors he felt "blindsided" when he was served with divorce papers on Feb. 6, 2009.

He said he had "no clue where it was coming from."

Hassan said he received the papers at about 4:30 p.m. that day. 

"When I realized what it was, my immediate reaction was like a little smile, kind of shaking my head," Hassan recalled. "Like, oh, there she goes again, playing her games."

Hassan said he was "used to these kind of attacks."

Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable objected to the description of the divorce papers as an "attack." The judge sustained the objection.

Hassan said the divorce papers did not include an order of protection, so he went to his home on Big Tree Road at about 6 or 7 p.m. No one was home, so he came back later at about 8 p.m., when he saw his family inside.

He said he broke a small window pane on the door because he was locked out, but cut his hand. A short time later, he said, the police showed up.

A police officer has previously testified that Hassan was placed in a police car that night, but was not charged for the incident.

Hassan said he slept that night at his office and was "feeling very isolated, completely cut off from my family."

"It was a very painful time for me, I mean, in my mind," Hassan said. "It was absolutely clear to me that Aasiya was being manipulative and abusive, and I was trying to figure out how to protect my children from this kind of environment."

That Sunday, he said, he got a room for one month at the Clarion Hotel.

***

2:40 p.m.: Hassan told the jurors that Aasiya Hassan agreed to attend domestic violence class with him in 2008, as long as he also went.

"She was like, 'as long as you go, I'll go with you,'" Hassan recalled. Hassan said he was willing to "take anything."

Aasiya was interested in attending domestic violence class for women, but that option did not exist, Hassan said.

Being forced to attend domestic violence class once a week for six months, Hassan said, made him feel "humiliated." He said he felt as though he was being "indoctrinated" as an abuser because he was a man.

During the class, he said, he saw four popular movies starring actors including Nick Nolte, Tina Turner, Jennifer Lopez and Farrah Fawcett in which they each played main characters who either killed their abusers or kidnapped their children to escape abuse. 

"This was being taught in this class," Hassan said. "And it just to me did not make any sense."

***

2:23 p.m.: If Hassan wraps up his direct testimony this afternoon, prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable has asked the judge that she be given until tomorrow morning to start her cross examination.

Curtin Gable requested that she be given "overnight to digest" Hassan's testimony.

"I don't think it's an unfair request on behalf of the People," Curtin Gable said.

Franczyk said he would reserve his judgement on the matter.

Hassan has returned to the witness stand, and the jury is entering the courtroom.

***

1:48 p.m.: Jeremy Schwartz, Hassan's legal advisor, told reporters during the lunch break that cross examination of his client could start as early as this afternoon. He said Hassan has shown a 'marked change of pace today" in his testimony. Listen to an audio clip of Schwartz speaking to reporters here

***

12:45 p.m.: Franczyk has stopped the testimony for lunch. Testimony is scheduled to resume at 2:15 p.m.

***

12:42 p.m.: Hassan said that by Jan. 20, 2009, Aasiya Hassan had become "super nice," bringing him lunch and visiting him often at his office at the Bridges TV building.

"It's all very pleasant and nice," Hassan recalled.

The behavior, he said, struck him as "odd." He told the jurors that he kept a log on an Excel spreadsheet in the office to keep track of the number of times she had entered his office during the week ending Jan. 23, 2009. She came in more than 60 times, Hassan said.

Hassan said he thought maybe Aasiya Hassan had returned to counseling. Instead, he said, he found out Feb. 6, 2009, that during that week she had already retained a divorce lawyer.

***

12:37 p.m.: Hassan said his entire family -- Aasiya Hassan's brother, his parents and other family members -- got involved in their marital problems in January 2009.

There were numerous phone calls between all of the family members, he said.

Around that time, Hassan said, he was also documenting the back and forth between himself and Aasiya Hassan.

He claims Aasiya discounted him by saying he was repetitive in his descriptions: "Aasiya discounts me that I'm just repeating myself, I'm repeating myself."

Aasiya Hassan, he said, later threatened to send an e-mail blast to all of the shareholders of Bridges TV to expose him.

Hassan also told the jurors that Aasiya Hassan told him, "if I don't stop writing, she's going to murder me in my sleep."

Hassan said e-mails were "flying" between himself, Aasiya Hassan, her family in Pakistan and his family in Dallas when he ran away to Toronto in mid-January 2009.

***

12:27 p.m.: Hassan described an incident in which he called another woman in December 2008 while Aasiya Hassan was in the room as a way to stop his wife from describing their marital problems to her brother.

"You don't need to bring people into our bedroom like this," Hassan recalls telling Aasiya Hassan to stop her from calling her brother. "This is very hurtful to me."

In desperation, Hassan said, he called the other woman to get Aasiya Hassan to stop talking to her brother.

"This kind of stuff has happened so many different times," Hassan said in describing his various attempts to get Aasiya Hassan to stop talking to her brother on the phone about their marriage. Nothing, he said, ever worked, so he tried calling the other woman.

Another time, Hassan said, Aasiya Hassan broke his glasses. During another incident around the same time, he testified, Aasiya Hassan was in the kitchen using a knife to cut meat. He said she told him: "I feel like putting this right through you."

A few hours later, Hassan said, his wife acted like nothing had happened.

Hassan has now ended his testimony of the events of 2008 and has started describing the events of early 2009.

***

12:15 p.m.: Frank M. Bogulski, a defense attorney who previously represented Hassan, has been observing the proceedings this morning in the courtroom.

***

12:12 p.m.: Hassan wanted to enter into evidence a picture of himself and a Bridges TV employee having a business lunch at a restaurant in Virginia on Monday, Nov. 24, 2008, that he claims showed that Aasiya Hassan interrupted the meal with a threatening text message.

Franczyk questioned how the picture showed evidence that the lunch was interrupted or even showed that the restaurant was in Virginia.

"It's two fellows having a fish fry in a restaurant," Franczyk said.

Hassan claims that the photograph shows a cell phone in which he received the text message. The judge did not allow the picture into evidence. Hassan continued with his story.

Hassan says he received a text message during the lunch that day at 2:06 p.m. in which Aasiya Hassan if he did not call her within 30 minutes, "she's going to go public with our dirty laundry."

***

12:03 p.m.: Franczyk has not allowed Hassan to enter into evidence a record Hassan kept of his feelings after he spoke with Aasiya Hassan over the telephone for several months in 2008.

Each time he hung up, Hassan said, he felt "an extreme amount of pain." He told the judge that he used the log as a cathartic exercise.

Franczyk said Hassan could articulate the feelings he felt if they are relevant, but that the written record of the feelings would be "inadmissible, self-serving hearsay."

***

11:58 a.m.: Hassan said Aasiya Hassan, while she was in South Africa in 2008, told him she had found a lawyer and planned to file for divorce.

Hassan said she told him that he would never see his kids again.

"So I shut up," Hassan recalled.

In the second half of June 2008, he testified, Aasiya Hassan went to Pakistan for her sister's wedding. He said he sent her dresses and other items.

"Things are getting better again when she's in Pakistan," Hassan testified.

He was so depressed around that same time, Hassan said, he stepped into a psychic office in New York City.

"They all made fun of me," Hassan said. 

***

11:51 a.m.: Hassan described finding an American Express statement in the mail in June 2008 as a "bombshell."

The couple, he said, did not use credit cards.

Hassan said he learned from the statement that Aasiya Hassan had bought three tickets in March for herself and two children to travel to South Africa. The purchase of the tickets, he said, was before a fight he said Aasiya Hassan had used as the reason for her flight out of the country.

Hassan also said he was confused because Aasiya Hassan had told him she bought the tickets with money that her father had wired.

"I felt betrayed and disoriented as to what is going on," Hassan said.

***

11:45 a.m.: Hassan contends that he tried to convince Aasiya Hassan to remain in South Africa for a year in 2008 rather than returning home to Orchard Park.

He said he told Aasiya Hassan that "between your denial and my repetition, we're a combustible mix."

Hassan said he told Aasiya Hassan he would pay for her and the children to live abroad.

"Let's try to live apart for one year and get some focused treatment or help on our own," Hassan said. 

The argument over whether she should return home, he said, went on for four or five days. He claims it was Aasiya Hassan who wanted to return. 

***

11:40 a.m.: Hassan told jurors he asked Aasiya Hassan to send an e-mail to M&T Bank to straighten out bank charges in her account while she was out of the country in May 2008.

Hassan points to an e-mail he said he sent to Aasiya Hassan asking about the bank charges as evidence that he did not have access to her e-mail account. Hassan said Aasiya Hassan accused him in early 2009 of forcing her to give him access to her e-mail.

"The point being, I did not have access to her e-mail," Hassan said. "Otherwise, I could have done this directly."

Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable has opposed the e-mail being entered into evidence, along with all other e-mail correspondence that has not been verified.

Franczyk said he would reserve judgement as to whether the e-mail could be entered into evidence.

"Put this in the pile as 'to be determined,'" Franczyk said.

***

11:23 a.m.: The judge has given jurors a five-minute break.

***

11:22 a.m.: Hassan said he came home on Monday, May 5, 2008, to find his wife and youngest children gone.

He said his oldest daughter gave him a two-sentence note from Aasiya Hassan at about 11 p.m. that said she was leaving the country for medical treatment.

Hassan has also had a picture placed on one of the television screens that he says shows Aasiya Hassan without injuries during a birthday party for one of their children around the same time.

The picture, Hassan claims, shows Aasiya Hassan was not injured.

The note, Hassan said, came "completely as a shock to me."

***

11:15 a.m.: Hassan has explained punching Aasiya Hassan in the nose by saying he lost his temper after she smashed his digital camera in the spring of 2008.

Hassan said he felt "terrible" after that happened.

He told the jurors that there wasn't a police report of the incident and that he was also injured during the conflict.

Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable objected to Hassan's characterization of why there wasn't a police report of the incident. Hassan had contended there wasn't a report because he was also injured. 

***

11:11 a.m.: Franczyk has told Hassan not to reduce his testimony to summary filler phrases like "da, da, da, da, da" after prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable objected.

"Confine your testimony to words," Franczyk said. 

***

11:07 a.m.: Hassan explained a "memorandum of understanding" that was previously entered into evidence by saying it was a "protection mechanism" that allowed him to move back home.

The agreement, signed between Hassan and his wife and entered into evidence by the prosecution, set out a list of punishments Aasiya Hassan would face if she violated certain rules, including going to police or Child Protection Services.

Hassan contents the document was meant to protect him.

Hassan said Aasiya Hassan used the threat of going to government agencies as "weapons" against him.

During a business trip in early March to Saudi Arabia, Hassan said, he was fearful that a Saudi prince he was negotiating with would do a background check on him and discover the police and Child Protection Services reports.

"It was that kind of fear that I constantly lived in," Hassan said.

***

11:02 a.m.: Hassan said he created the written "roadmap" for his relationship with Aasiya Hassan so that the couple could use it to work on their marriage.

Hassan said both listed what they needed from the marriage.

Hassan said what he needed from Aasiya Hassan was to stop going to the police, Child Protective Services or doctors. 

The couple used the documents in January and February of 2008.

Hassan said he continued to live in a hotel at the beginning of March. He contends it was Aasiya Hassan who wanted him to move back home, but he was afraid and wanted a "protection mechanism." 

***

10:54 a.m.: Franczyk has stopped Hassan from entering into evidence an online personality profile test Hassan said he and his wife took together.

The judge said the results of the online test would be hearsay.

Hassan also asked to enter into evidence a four-page document entitled "roadmap" that Hassan said he created with Aasiya Hassan to detail the steps they should take to a better relationship.

"For almost two or three months we used it daily during this period," Hassan said.

Franczyk has allowed the document into evidence.

***

10:45 a.m.: Hassan has picked up where he left off yesterday in describing the events of his marriage. He has started his testimony with January 2008.

His testimony in the first few minutes has already garnered several objections from prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable.

When Hassan motioned to a pile of papers that is more than 3 inches tall and said, "these are all the e-mails I am not going through," Curtin Gable lodged an objection.

"What's the relevance of that?" Curtin Gable asked.

"To speed things up," Hassan said.

A few minutes later, the judge sustained another objection when Hassan repeated information he had testified to yesterday.

***

10:39 a.m.: Hassan has returned to the witness stand and is continuing his testimony.

***

10:37 a.m.: The jury has re-entered the courtroom. Franczyk is asking the jury whether they have seen media accounts of the trial, discussed the case with anyone or made any decisions regarding the case. All of the jurors answered no.

***

9:48 a.m.: A line has formed again outside of Franczyk's courtroom as members of the press and the public wait for the trial to resume.

***

Read News Staff Reporter Sandra Tan's account of Day 9 of the trial in "Testimony follows Hassan threat to leave."

See The News' entire coverage of the Mo Hassan case, including video, audio and previous stories, on the Mo Hassan topics page

--Denise Jewell Gee

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