The Takeaway of the Day

25 Jan

Mo Hassan is a sick fuck.

Yesterday, I spent my lunch hour watching Mo Hassan conduct his first-ever cross-examination of a witness in his own murder trial.  Earlier in the day, Hassan and Jeremy Schwartz, his attorney, renewed their motions to relieve Schwartz of his duties.  Monday morning, however, Judge Franczyk reluctantly granted the motion.  Schwartz would continue to sit in the courtroom and act as a silent advisor to Hassan, but the defendant himself would conduct his own defense.

When I attended law school, Colin Ferguson shot up an LIRR train at the peak of rush hour, and he was a madman who insisted on representing himself – right down to referring to himself in the 3rd person.  We had the same thing yesterday, as Hassan cross-examined witness after witness.

His cross?  He scored a point or two here and there, but most of it was laden with rookie mistakes, argument, redundancy, irrelevance, and hubris.  Hassan thinks he’s the smartest guy in that room, and you get the sense from watching him that he thinks he has that courtroom wrapped around his finger.

But the big takeaway?  Mo Hassan is one sick fuck.

Forget for a moment that he’s an admitted wife-beheader.  Not alleged – he admitted it.  The only issue in this case is Hassan’s state of mind.  The prosecution has presented witnesses and evidence to conclusively establish that the crime was well-planned and methodically premeditated. The only chance Hassan might have to get away with a temporary insanity defense would involve him sitting at the defense table in complete silence during the entire trial.

Instead, Hassan has fired his lawyer and taken up his own defense.  These events have taken place outside the jury’s presence.  One minute Hassan’s lawyer is doing all the talking, the next minute Hassan is.  As he cross-examined a former colleage from Bridges TV, Hassan was literally surrounded by about a half-dozen Sheriff’s deputies. What does that convey to a jury?

At one point during his relatively clumsy, hearsay-laden, largely irrelevant cross-examination, the DA objected.  This prompted a response from Hassan, head down towards the table and microphone, “calm down”.  The DA blew a gasket, and rightfully so. Hassan thought he was being cute, but by mildly overreacting, the DA illustrated that moment for the jury in a process that is tightly stage-managed through legal evidence and procedure.

Occasionally when Hassan would hit a brick wall of objections, he’d solicit advice from a silent Jeremy Schwartz.  Hassan would re-ask the question in a non-objectionable way.


At one point in the afternoon, there was some argument concerning the introduction of photographs of Aasiya Zubair’s body at the crime scene.  Hassan argued that the photos were too gory and prejudicial, but had no probative value since he had already confessed to the homicide. In the end, the judge ordered that the actual wound of the beheading be blacked out.

Among other things, when a judge is faced with a pro-se criminal defendant, he has to bend over backwards to ensure that the defendant’s lack of procedural knowledge doesn’t get in the way of him getting a fair trial. Judge Franczyk was exceedingly professional and fair.

The process was fascinating to watch.  The gallery is packed with students, looky-loos, and reporters crazily Tweeting from the back row. Hassan’s trial has become a veritable freakshow, but in the end the process exists to seek and obtain justice for Aasiya Zubair.

(Thanks to Brad Riter and Shredd & Ragan for the airtime today.  Thanks to Steve Cichon, Laura Gray, Lorey Schultz, Pete Gallivan, and Marissa Bailey, and the Buffalo News for live-Tweeting/blogging the proceedings.  One of you guys has to ask Schwartz if he’s getting paid to sit there like Ollie North’s potted plant).

24 Responses to “The Takeaway of the Day”

  1. Hapklein January 25, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    Again give Hassan a fair trial then hang him.
    They can’t of course but the worse thing that could happen in that circus is some miscue or procedural error that could create a mistrial or even worse be sustained on appeal.
    Personally acting as his own attorney is the best thing we could have. He is revealed as the blundering arrogant ass hole he is and is demonstrating that while he is crazy he is able to understand the charges and the court and passes beyond the realm of an insanity plea.
    Mo is playing on our side and should get thanks.

  2. Leo Wilson January 25, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    This is a drastic departure from the tone of the other articles, Alan. I have to assume that you were provoked.

  3. BobbyCat January 25, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    I can understand why a handful of lawyers are interested watching a narcissistic amateur make mistakes and hang himself. But what about the media? What’s their excuse?

    The intense focus on this trial is another indication that the Buffalo media has gone tabloid – full tilt boogey. Even the staid Buffalo News is ignoring real news while concentrating on sensationalism. While the NEWS was blogging from this trial, they didn’t bother to cover the biggest mafia bust in history. I can understand why local TV news department would sell their souls for a bump in their ratings; They’re mostly whores. But the BuffNews? What’s their excuse?

    But on second thought, the NEWS sold out their journalistic credibility pretending to cover the gubernatorial race. The rest of the national media saw our hometown hero, Mr. Paladino for what he was and decried what they saw, but somehow, incredibly, the Buffalo News missed that story. Only a handful of local TV reporters at Ch. 2 did their jobs and pressed the candidate for answers to embarrassing questions. The rest apparently didn’t have the guts. But I digress.

    This Hassan trial might be a vicarious thrill-ride for supermarket tabloids, for soap opera fans, for Lindsay Lohan freaks and the like, but please, not for adults. Serious journalists, even TV reporters, embarrass themselves with their full-team coverage of this trash. How low can they go for ratings? What does this portend for the future? More ambulance chasing? If it bleeds, it leads? Look, Irv retired. Leave it alone.

    This scumbag confessed. Guilty, life sentence, SLAM! End of story. But you want every gruesome, lurid, salacious detail, right? Well, I don’t.

  4. Mike In WNY January 25, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    This trial affords us a look into the dark side of multiculturalism.

    • Alan Bedenko January 25, 2011 at 10:57 am #

      This trial affords us a look into the dark side of multiculturalism.


  5. Slothrop January 25, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    @Mike in WNY: And your posts affords us a look into the (always) dark side of bigotry.

  6. Mike In WNY January 25, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    @Slothrop – I was merely pointing out an extremely observable phenomenon. The denail of the existence of said “bigotry” is at the peril of those who are blind to it.

    @Alan, Mrs. Hassan’s adoption of western cultural values was clearly at odds with her husband’s assimilation, or lack thereof, of those same values. Ultimately, he snapped.

  7. Mike In WNY January 25, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

    To further illuminate my thoughts, here’s a quote from the president of the NYS National Organization for Women –

    “This was apparently a terroristic version of honor killing, a murder rooted in cultural notions about women’s subordination to men.”

    • Alan Bedenko January 25, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

      That must explain why his previous two wives divorced him due to spousal abuse. It was that they’re muslim. That shit never happens with Christian white people.

  8. Mike In WNY January 25, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    Alan, I don’t understand why you are denying the obvious. People murder for many different reasons. Spousal abuse is rooted in a variety of different factors. You can’t deny away something just because you deem it politically incorrect. By the same token, acknowledging it is not the same thing as condoning it.

    The two previous abused wives show a predisposition on the part of Hassan. Now, as to the cause of the predisposition . . .

    • Alan Bedenko January 25, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

      “Multiculturalism” didn’t kill Aasiya Zubair. It’s really quite simple. Your suggestion merely reveals your own prejudices – not facts. Here, it would appear that Hassan killed his wife because she was finally acting to free herself from his controlling and violent ways. Are you suggesting that controlling and violence are rooted only in the Muslim religion or the Pakistani culture? Because that’s the only reason why you would suggest that the trial is a window into the “dark side of multiculturalism”.

      I like how with you it’s the individual this, the individual that – but all of a sudden a Pakistani immigrant murders his Pakistani wife after years of abuse, and it’s a cultural collective guilt sort of thing.

  9. Leo Wilson January 25, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    @Mike – you’re off base. If you check, people killing spouses is always pretty brutal. Some white Christians have done the same thing, or decapitated and dismembered and fed pieces to the fishes or tossed them out the window of a car driving along the highway. Your bias is understandable in the face of media coverage for Afghanistan or Pakistan, but it just doesn’t apply in the US where similar, equally gory crimes take place so often that the national media isn’t even talking about this case.

    If anything, perhaps this guy’s religon prevented him from disposing of his wife’s body in a way that interfered with religous burial.

  10. Mike In WNY January 25, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    Are you suggesting that controlling and violence are rooted only in the Muslim religion or the Pakistani culture?

    What does that have to do with anything? Yes, domestic violence affects all races, colors, creeds and cultures. That does not mean multiculturalism played no role in the Hassan case.

  11. Eric Saldanha January 25, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    Multiculturalism was a prime factor in Susan Smith drowning her own children because it drove her to blame it on a scary black man.

  12. Hank January 25, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    Actually Eric—What drove Susan Smith to blame the deaths of her children on a scary black man is because in South Carolina, that still plays well. And it did for quite some time before it came back on her. Susan Smith may not be deranged in exactly the same way as Hassan, but I would think to an equal magnitude.

    For a woman to give birth to two living children and then dispose of them for a boyfriend upgrade is just as despicable as a man beheading his wife because she embraced values that he did not.

    For the record, killing one’s spouse crosses any barrier you could fancy. Abuse is samey same. I once arrived on an ambulance run to find a Marine’s wife whose face was swollen so badly from a beating she was unrecognizeable as a human. That wasn’t enough for hubby, so he gave her some scar action with a K-Bar combat knife for when the swelling went down. It’s one of those scenes that I take drugs to sleep so I don’t keep seeing it.

  13. Jon Splett January 25, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    @Mike- Can you cite even one reference in testimony that has come before the court that indicates his religion had anything to do with his killing his wife?

    I despise religion. I’d love for this to be a textbook case for how religion warps minds and lets people justify disgusting actions. It’d be a great example to show how evil religion is. But in this case, despite the guy’s career choices, there isn’t one shred of evidence that’s what happened here. If his defense in court was, “My wife is my property” your criticism might be valid but it’s not. His defense is, “My wife abused me”. How many extremist Muslim men are going to ‘admit’ to being scared and inferior to their wives?

    He was a controlling piece of shit who beat his wife. That is sadly a belief that transcends all religion. Go to any trailer park in the country and you’ll see that’s a belief held by good old fashion Christian American white trash who despise multiculturalism just as much as you do.

    Also love the hypocrisy in you claiming muslim beliefs made the guy do this but tea party rhetoric had nothing to do with the Arizona shooting. Maybe you should take an honest look at the THAT culture too…

  14. Mike In WNY January 25, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    Domestic violence occurs at a much higher rate in Muslim countries, including Pakistan. Psychology teaches us that people are a result of their life experiences. Unless Hassan grew up in a glass bubble, you can not rule out that cultural influences affected his actions.

    Taking all domestic violence into account, how often does a beheading occur? Where are beheadings the most common? Hmmm, kind of makes one think.

    • Alan Bedenko January 26, 2011 at 6:34 am #

      25 women in the area were murdered by abusive spouses over the past 3 years. How many of them were Pakistani Muslims?

  15. Tom Dolina January 25, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

    Alan, if you keep this up, Hassan will likely call you as a witness too!

    • Alan Bedenko January 26, 2011 at 6:32 am #

      I wonder why WBEN didn’t refer to Altemio Sanchez as “Christian serial murderer” or “Puerto-Rican serial murderer”? They have called him a “Muslim” murder suspect, however.

  16. Mike In WNY January 26, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    What percentage of the area population is Pakistani Muslim? How many woman were beheaded?

    • Alan Bedenko January 26, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

      I dunno. Decapitation was pretty big with the French.

  17. Hank January 26, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    Splett despises religion. That pretty much sums it up.


  1. Hassan: Closing Arguments & Likely Verdict Today « - February 7, 2011

    […] The Mo Show: People Rest, Defense Fumfers Hassan Tuesday: What Was & Wasn’t Important The Takeaway of the Day A Battered Court The Hassan Case So […]

Contribute To The Conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: