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By Chris Baltimore
HOUSTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army psychiatrist charged with 13 counts of murder in the Fort Hood Army base shootings may be permanently paralyzed from the waist down due to the gunshots used to subdue him, his lawyer said on Friday.
John Galligan, a retired Army colonel appointed to represent Major Nidal Malik Hasan during an upcoming military trial, also said Hasan, 39, could face more charges.
The U.S. Army has charged Hasan, a U.S.-born Muslim who is the son of immigrant parents, with premeditated murder in the deaths of 13 people on November 5 at the huge military base in Texas. He could face the death penalty if convicted.
Police officers shot Hasan four times during the incident to bring him down, and the wounds appear to have left him permanently paralyzed from the waist down, Galligan said.
Hasan regained consciousness this week but remains in intensive care at a military hospital in Texas.
"It appears that there is a paralysis that might be permanent," Galligan told Reuters by telephone.
The Army has not ruled out bringing future charges against Hasan. "Quite possibly, additional charges could be filed," Galligan said.
Galligan also said he has grave doubts that Hasan could receive an impartial trial if it is held at Fort Hood.
The shooting prompted President Barack Obama to order a review of how U.S. intelligence agencies handled information they may have gathered about Hasan amid questions about whether authorities may have missed warning signs.
Intelligence agencies learned that Hasan, who counselled wounded soldiers, had contact with an Islamist sympathetic to al Qaeda, and officials said the information had been passed to law enforcement authorities.
(Reporting by Chris Baltimore; Editing by Will Dunham)