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Hassan portrays himself as the victim
Takes witness stand, testifies wife bullied, threatened him in rages

Muzzammil "Mo" Hassan told jurors Thursday that his wife, Aasiya, was in such denial of her own abusiveness that he once gave her a book containing a quiz to identify abusers.

He suggested she take it privately and come to terms with her true nature.

He made the suggestion kindly, he said.

"I told her, 'You don't have to share the results with me.' "

The man charged in his wife's brutal murder took the stand on the seventh day of trial and spent nearly 4 1/2 hours telling jurors that he was the real victim -- the hurt, bullied, vulnerable and broken one.

"Her need for control and domination was just killing me," he said.

He portrayed Aasiya as a selfish, demanding, jealous and rage-fueled woman who would scream, throw things, threaten and hit him whenever he didn't agree with her or give in to her demands.

He portrayed himself as a mild-mannered, reasonable and easygoing man who felt neglected, rejected and devalued by his wife.

"I tried to verbalize my hurt and pain from her behavior," he told jurors. "I felt like I was hitting a thick stone wall."

Hassan, who was acting as both his own attorney and a witness, testified in great detail about problems in his marriage to Aasiya, who was found stabbed and beheaded on the night of Feb. 12, 2009,in the studio of the couple's Bridges TV station in Orchard Park.

Hassan, who had no other witnesses ready to testify on the first day of his defense, was calm and respectful throughout his testimony. His legal adviser, Jeremy Schwartz, sat next to the witness box but did not question him. Hassan consulted Schwartz whenever the prosecution raised an objection to his testimony, something that happened regularly.

Hassan's day on the witness stand started off at a reasonable pace but degenerated into an agonizingly slow pace by midafternoon.

He testified that he repeatedly pleaded with his wife to acknowledge her behavioral problems and get counseling. He said he gave her numerous books and articles to help her improve her personality, but she responded with explosive temper tantrums "for no reason."

"She just blew up that she could never have a single happy day with me," he said. "When she goes off, it's like machine-gun bullets."

Throughout his testimony, he used many descriptors typically found in be-a-better-person books in the self-help aisle of bookstores.

He entered into evidence a one-page document he said he wrote up on Aug. 31, 2006, titled "Please try to end hurts and find love."

Following was a long list of bad behaviors he said Aasiya was guilty of. Among the things he wanted her to stop doing to him: abusing, interrupting, blocking and diverting, accusing, blaming, denying, judging and making one-sided decisions.

He said he wanted her to "acknowledge and validate his hurt and feelings."

"Your know-it-all attitude and stubbornness is making me feel devalued and unvalued as a friend," he concluded.

Accompanying this document were several articles on how to curb bad behavior, along with the book containing the how-to-recognize-an-abuser quiz.

Hassan said he met Aasiya online in January 2000 and began an online courtship with her, but as early as their wedding day and honeymoon, he said, he saw signs that she had a controlling and jealous nature. Among the examples:

*She was upset that he spent so much of their honeymoon at an Internet cafe doing paperwork for her tourist visa to Canada instead of doing anything romantic with her.

*She demanded that they stay at only certain hotels and later didn't want to go on a fishing trip arranged by his father for the two of them and his two older children.

"At that time, I felt the first pangs of possessiveness," he said.

So the testimony went, with Hassan occasionally giving a day-by-day accounting of various marital arguments and disagreements that led him to conclude that Aasiya had mental problems.

"If Aasiya felt hurt, she had to hurt you," he said. "She didn't verbalize her hurt."

They also frequently argued about her desire to see her family in Pakistan and to bring their children. Hassan said he didn't want his wife going to Pakistan often because it was so expensive.

"If I didn't acquiesce, then I am the most horrible human being to walk the Earth," he said.

In regard to prior testimony by friends, co-workers and Hassan's children that Aasiya was sleep-deprived and complained of working long hours as both the general manager of Bridges TV and the manager of a 7-Eleven, where she often covered overnight shifts, Hassan said that was all her own choice.

Though the 12 jurors and one alternate have been extremely attentive to all testimony and evidence presented by the prosecution during the first six days of trial, a number of jurors looked visibly worn down and bored by Hassan's unrelenting, and often repetitive, recitation of events and perceptions.

He spent more than an hour and a half talking about events that transpired between him and Aasiya in August 2006, saying that month was a pivotal time in their relationship when things really started heading south.

In 2006, he said, Aasiya took off with their children to New York City without telling him. He also told jurors that she got an abortion on her own, after they had had two children, and he implied that a later miscarriage was not his fault despite his strong disapproval of her having more children.

Correspondence and statements from Aasiya seen by The News, however, show that she expressed deep heartbreak over the loss of two babies and directly blamed Hassan for the miscarriage.

In that incident, family baby sitter Jennifer Greer testified that Hassan -- who weighs 300 pounds -- dragged his wife by her arms and hair across the family's driveway and sat on her stomach with all his weight.

Hassan refuted that version of events, saying he and his wife argued inside the house about Hassan confiscating the children's passports because he was going to a conference in Chicago and didn't want her leaving town with the children without consulting him.

He said she tried to wrestle the passports away from him, then grabbed onto his legs and wouldn't let go after he got outside. "She was kicking me at the time and had kicked me in the groin, so I sat down on her ankles to stop her from kicking me," he testified.

He also referred to medical reports from early in their marriage in which Aasiya complained of having dark circles under her eyes for months. He said later suggestions that she had black eyes were incorrect -- that they were part of her natural skin tone.

He attempted to introduce numerous pieces of e-mail as evidence, but Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk has denied all his attempts to do so, saying he hasn't laid any legal foundation to show that the e-mails are authentic.

Hassan ended his testimony by referring a supposedly false accusation of sexual abuse by Greer, the baby sitter, because he came out of the shower unclothed. He also said Aasiya accused him of "liking white women better than Pakistani women."

After the jury left the courtroom, Hassan agreed to withdraw subpoenas to call as witnesses Franczyk, prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable, District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III, three other judges who handled domestic violence cases involving him, a Family Court lawyer and a Buffalo News reporter.

He expressed a desire to force local psychologist Ana Cervantes to testify as an expert in his case. Franczyk, reading from a Cervantes fax, said she objected to Hassan's attempt to "force her to appear as an expert witness against her will."

The trial continues today.

News Staff Reporter Matt Gryta contributed to this report.

e-mail: stan@buffnews.com

***

Hassan called his late wife a selfish, rage-fueled woman who would scream and hit him

"Her need for control and domination was just killing me."

"I tried to verbalize my hurt and pain ... I felt like I was hitting a thick stone wall."

"If Aasiya felt hurt, she had to hurt you. She didn't verbalize her hurt."

"If I didn't acquiesce, then I am the most horrible human being to walk the Earth."

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