MIAMI (AP) _ Prosecutors on Tuesday played intercepted phone calls to and about Jose Padilla in which the man accused of being an al-Qaida operative discussed plans to visit Egypt and was criticized for lagging in his Arabic studies there.
The calls played in court included numerous terms _ many related to sports _ that FBI agent John T. Kavanaugh testified were code.
Clubs, the agent said, meant mujahadeen units, and soccer captains were mujahadeen leaders; soccer training was code for jihad training, sports equipment for weaponry.
Padilla is on trial with two other men for what prosecutors say was a conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim people overseas and to support Islamic extremists.
Padilla went to Egypt in 1998 for Arabic language lessons.
The calls played for jurors did not portray Padilla as a successful student.
``His endeavor is limited,'' co-defendant Adham Amin Hassoun is told by caller Mohamed Hesham Youssef in Cairo. ``The other students are strong in their studies.''
Youssef was indicted in the Miami case but is in custody in Egypt and not part of the trial. Like Padilla, prosecutors say, he was recruited by a North American cell to fight for Muslim extremist causes overseas.
Tuesday was the start of the fifth week of testimony in the trial of Padilla, Hassoun and a third man, Kifah Wael Jayyousi. All three face possible life sentences but have pleaded not guilty. The trial is expected to drag on through August.
Padilla, 36, a former Chicago gang member and Muslim convert, has been in federal custody since his May 2002 arrest at O'Hare International Airport. He was initially accused of plotting to detonate a radioactive ``dirty bomb'' inside the United States and was held for three-and-a-half years at a Navy brig as an enemy combatant, but those allegations are not part of the Miami case.