This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/2976

Trial of Fort Dix Six to begin in October - Special websites will provide information-documentation-possible live feed

June 15, 2007

He [Judge Kugler]also promised several unusual steps to accommodate the media interest, many of them modeled on the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the "20th hijacker" convicted of conspiracy in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Kugler said a special Web site would be created where all court orders, filings and other information would be posted. He also said he wanted all evidence in the trial to be digital, so it could be made available to the media instantaneously as it is introduced. The courtrooms, he said, have wireless connections that will be made available to the media.

Simultaneous transcripts of the trial also would be available for a fee, Kugler said, and the court would consider a live feed to Fort Dix.

An Oct. trial for Ft. Dix Six

By Troy Graham

Inquirer Staff Writer

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/nj/20070615_An_Oct__trial_for_Ft__Dix_Six.html ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Inquirer Staff Photographer Attorneys for three of the Fort Dix terror suspects walk away from a meeting with reporters outside the Federal District Courthouse in Camden. More images The six men charged with plotting a paramilitary attack on Fort Dix pleaded not guilty at their arraignments in federal court in Camden yesterday.

Following those hearings, U.S. District Court Judge Robert B. Kugler held a conference with the defense attorneys and said he wanted to start the trial in early October.

"These defendants are being detained. . . . If the government can't prove its case, they shouldn't be in jail," Kugler said. "I'm going to push you. I'm going to be merciless."

The six defendants did not speak during either proceeding, other than to answer "yes" when asked if they understood their rights.

Several defendants, shackled at the waist and wearing olive prison jumpsuits, motioned and smiled to family members in the packed courtroom, and some mouthed words to them. One defendant, Serdar Tatar, mouthed, "I love you," to a group in the back row, including two sobbing women.

Kugler admonished both the defendants and their families, who communicated in turn.

"That will be the last time that happens in this courtroom," he said.

Five of the six were charged with planning to kill U.S. military personnel, an offense that carries a potential life sentence. The sixth defendant was charged with a weapons offense that carries a maximum 10-year term.

All six have been held without bail since being arrested on May 7.

The case includes more than 100 secretly recorded conversations made by two cooperating witnesses who managed to infiltrate the group. The FBI informants allegedly took part in a training session in February that included firearms practice and watching radical Islamic videotapes.

Kugler asked prosecutors if wiretaps or classified information were a part of the case, but the prosecutors said they weren't prepared to answer yet.

The indictment charges that five of the defendants - Mohamad Shnewer, 22; Tatar, 23; and brothers Dritan Duka, 28; Shain Duka, 26; and Eljvir Duka, 23 - "were inspired by . . . al-Qaeda, a foreign terrorist organization."

The Duka brothers are Cherry Hill residents who came to this country from the former Yugoslavia as children in the 1980s. They are ethnic Albanians, and authorities say they are illegal immigrants.

Shnewer, also of Cherry Hill, is a U.S. citizen who was born in Jordan and came to this country as a child. Tatar, who lived in Cherry Hill and then Philadelphia, is a legal resident alien who was born in Turkey.

The sixth defendant, Agron Abdullahu, 24, of Buena Vista Township, Atlantic County, came to the United States with his family from Kosovo in the late 1990s as part of a U.S.-sponsored airlift of victims of a genocidal war there.

Kugler compared the case against them to an undercover drug sting, anticipating similar kinds of evidence from informants and tape-recorded conversations. The attorneys agreed that the case could be tried in three to four weeks.

But Kugler also acknowledged that "this is an unusual case in many respects," including the intense media interest. The arrests of the "Fort Dix Six" garnered headlines around the world.

He said an unusually large jury pool would have to be selected because of the publicity. "Maybe a thousand," Kugler said.

Also, the nature of the allegations, which include the loaded rhetoric of terrorism and al-Qaeda, creates security concerns for the court. The other federal judges sitting in Camden cleared their calendars yesterday, and extra layers of screening were added to the courthouse.

Kugler promised security would remain tight for the trial.

He also promised several unusual steps to accommodate the media interest, many of them modeled on the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the "20th hijacker" convicted of conspiracy in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Kugler said a special Web site would be created where all court orders, filings and other information would be posted. He also said he wanted all evidence in the trial to be digital, so it could be made available to the media instantaneously as it is introduced. The courtrooms, he said, have wireless connections that will be made available to the media.

Simultaneous transcripts of the trial also would be available for a fee, Kugler said, and the court would consider a live feed to Fort Dix.

The indictment alleges the defendants considered several military installations before settling on Fort Dix as their target. Authorities alleged the defendants conducted surveillance of the base and obtained a map of the facility from Tatar's father's pizza shop next to the base.

The six were arrested on the night Shain and Dritan Duka were to buy seven assault rifles and four handguns from a "black market" gun merchant. The gun deal was, in fact, a sting operation set up by the FBI through one of its cooperating witnesses.

http://www.courierpostonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070615/NEWS01/706150364/1006


Trial of Dix Six may be in Oct.

By RENEE WINKLER
Courier-Post Staff

CAMDEN

Six men arrested in connection with a plot to kill military and civilian personnel at Fort Dix could go to trial in early October, U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler said Thursday.

Once the trial starts, security will be tight and prisoners' interaction with family members in the courtroom will be barred.

The men, four of whom could face life prison terms if convicted, Thursday pleaded not guilty to charges involving either the murder conspiracy or providing weapons to illegal immigrants. They remain detained, without bail, and in segregation at the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia, where they are denied visitation with family and friends.

The indictment returned by a federal grand jury last week said the six were "inspired by al-Qaeda, a foreign terrorist organization that sponsored, managed and financed terroristic attacks against the United States and its citizens, including the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and attacks on United States military forces fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan."

The men were arrested in a May 7 sweep while they were in the process of obtaining automatic and semi-automatic weapons, authorities said.

Deputy public defender Lisa Evans Lewis said she will be filing a motion to sever her client, Agron Abdullahu, who is an American citizen, from his co-defendants. Abdullahu is charged with one count of aiding and abetting the possession of firearms by illegal immigrants. His potential sentence, if convicted, is 10 years in state prison.

Facing possible life terms if convicted are Ibrahim Shnewer of Cherry Hill and three brothers also from Cherry Hill, Dritan "Anthony" Duka, Shain Duka, and Eljvir "Elvis" Duka, 23. Also facing a possible life prison term on the same charge of conspiring to kill personnel at Fort Dix is Serdar Tatar of Philadelphia.

Kugler said the trial will take months because jury selection would be difficult and could start with a pool of 1,000 potential jurors drawn from Cape May to Burlington counties. Also, defense attorneys will have to review transcripts of more than 100 secretly recorded conversations, some of them in Arabic.

Kugler had set a trial date of Aug. 13. During a status hearing after the arraignments, Kugler said a date of mid-October was more realistic.

Kugler also said that security in the federal courthouse would be beefed up, with at least two checkpoints set up before entrance to the courtroom. Cell phones and personal communication devices would be barred for everyone except attorneys and news media with credentials.

Kugler told the defendants that their behavior and that of relatives and friends who attend the trial will be strictly restricted. The defendants will remain shackled throughout the trial, although the shackles will not be visible to jurors, he said.

He noted that defendants and family in the gallery of the courtroom on Thursday had exchanged waves and gestures as the six defendants entered and left the courtroom.

"That was the last time that will happen in this courtroom. Any attempt to communicate in any way, verbally or in gestures," will be prohibited, Kugler said.

This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/2976