By Karen Brooks and Lisa Maria Garza
FORT HOOD, Texas, Aug 7 (Reuters) - A U.S. Army psychiatrist who admitted on the first day of his court-martial that he shot dozens of soldiers at a Texas base in November 2009 because he had been fighting "on the wrong side," was back in court on Wednesday for more trial testimony.
Major Nidal Hasan, an American-born Muslim, told jurors on Tuesday that he opened fire, killing 13 soldiers and wounding 32 others, just days before he was to be deployed to Afghanistan.
He spoke of his conversion to "jihad" or Muslim holy war, against the United States.
"I was on the wrong side but I switched sides," Hasan, in a wheelchair, said without emotion. Hasan was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by military police during the rampage at Fort Hood, Texas on Nov. 5, 2009.
Opening day testimony on Tuesday included an emotional account of the shooting by Sergeant Alonzo Lunsford, shot seven times during the attack. He said he saw Hasan draw his pistol and described soldiers diving for cover and frantically trying to escape the building.
Hasan has been soft spoken and calm while acting as his own defense lawyer in the tiny courtroom at Fort Hood, even as he told the jury, "I was the shooter."
The shootings were the worst non-combat attack at a U.S. military base in history. If convicted, Hasan could be sent to death row in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and become the first American soldier executed by the U.S. military since 1961.
He faces 13 charges of premeditated murder and 32 charges of attempted premeditated murder. The dead were 12 active duty soldiers and a retired chief warrant officer who worked as a civilian employee at the base.
The military judge for the court-martial, Colonel Tara Osborn, has rejected Hasan's offer to plead guilty in return for being spared the death penalty based on the military's policy against allowing such pleas in capital cases.
A review by a former FBI director found that Hasan had exchanged emails with Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric linked to al Qaeda's Yemen-based wing. Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011.
Hasan plans to call two witnesses at trial, according to Fort Hood officials. The witnesses were not identified. Hasan may cross-examine any witness, including survivors. Two survivors testified on Tuesday, but Hasan did not question them.
The trial was delayed repeatedly over procedural issues, such as whether Hasan would be allowed to keep a beard that violates military grooming regulations, which he has said he wears for religious reasons. (Additional reporting Jana J. Pruet; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Grant McCool)