A judge temporarily halted proceedings on the second day of the trial against Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan.
Hasan is charged with the murder of 13 people and the attempted murder of 32 more in the 2009 shooting rampage.
His standby defense team asked to either take over or be excused, saying their client has a death wish and they want no part in it. Although Hasan is representing himself, the standby team is in place in case he changes his mind or needs advice.
"We do not think it (is) wise to help him achieve that goal. It is repugnant to defense counsel," Defense Attorney Col. Kris Poppe said.
"Their job is to represent their client and keep him from getting the death penalty. Their perception is that it's something he wants," former military prosecutor Richard Rosen explained.
In Hasan's opening statement Monday, he admitted that the evidence would clearly show he was the shooter.
He went on to tell the military jury that he was a mujahideen, an Islamic fighter engaged in a religious fight. So far, he hasn't cross examined any witnesses.
"He's said that he was trying to prevent the Americans from killing the Taliban," Ret. Gunnery Sgt. Jessie Jane Duff, with Concerned Veterans for America, said. "The judge has rejected that defense for some reason. But his own words are declaring that it is terrorism."
Hasan tried to plead guilty before the trial began, but the government denied the plea because it wouldn't have allowed them to pursue the death penalty.
Meanwhile, many victims and their families are suing the government because they say political correctness kept the military from stopping Hasan.
Observers say, for whatever reason, the military missed the warning signs.
"I do compare this to the Boston bombing, that there were facts there that could have prevented it that the FBI had that did not share with the Boston police," Duff said.
"And I think that a lot of people that saw his radical behavior were not reporting it to the proper authorities, or those that were receiving it did not want to handle it for whatever reason and it is disappointing," she added.
The trial against Maj. Hasan is set to resume Thursday.