Jury In Fort Dix Plot Trial To Be Anonymous

Thursday, September 6th 2007, 11:15 am
By: News On 6

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) _ An anonymous jury will hear the case of six men accused of plotting to attack soldiers at Fort Dix, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler rejected defense complaints that such a jury would be biased. He agreed with federal prosecutors that the trial presents an exceptional case and could create apprehensive jurors.

Several factors led to his decision, including pretrial publicity, he said.

The six were arrested in May and charged with planning to raid the New Jersey military installation, which is being used largely to train reservists bound for Iraq.

Kugler has been pushing for a trial later this year, but defense lawyers said they might not be prepared by then to defend a case that involved hundreds of hours of conversations recorded by two paid government informants.

Five of the men _ the brothers Dritan, Shain and Eljvir Duka; Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer; and Serdar Tatar _ face life in prison if convicted of conspiracy to murder military personnel. The sixth, Agron Abdullahu, is charged with weapons offenses punishable by 10 years in prison. His lawyer said he would move to have Abdullahu tried separately.

The suspects, all in their 20s, were born overseas but have spent many years living in Philadelphia's southern New Jersey suburbs. Authorities said the six scouted out East Coast military installations to find one to attack but settled on Fort Dix largely because Tatar knew his way around from delivering pizzas to the base for his father's restaurant.