WASHINGTON - Pre-trial motions in the Fort Hood shooting trial were delayed Friday after the trial judge deemed the defendant's beard "a disruption to the court."

Maj. Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist accused of murdering 13 people and wounding 32 in a shooting rampage at the Texas base three years ago, appeared in court unshaven, according to Army officials.

Judge Col. Gregory Gross ordered the motions delayed "until the near future," when Hasan meets Army grooming standards or "a closed circuit feed can be set up for the accused to watch the hearings from outside the court room."

Defense attorneys said they will file a request for a religious accommodation exemption to the grooming standards. Hasan is a Muslim.

The court-martial has already been delayed twice this year, and is currently scheduled to begin in August. The court was scheduled to rule on a host of pre-trial questions on Friday, including whether the government should pay for an outside neurologist to be a witness for Hasan's defense.

Hasan faces 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. If convicted of the 2009 attack, Hasan could face the death penalty.

Twitter: @LeoShane

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