Fort Dix jurors expect to finish Monday

December 21, 2008 1:33:13 PM PST
The jury in the trial of five men accused of plotting an attack on the Army's Fort Dix has signaled that it's on the verge of reaching a verdict after five days of deliberations. U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler said jurors told him Sunday afternoon that they were done deliberating for the day and that they expected to finish entirely sometime Monday.

Kugler said in the courtroom that he asked all the jurors if they were comfortable with him telling lawyers and the media that they were close. He said they all agreed that they were.

As deliberations have stretched on, many of the suspects' relatives have kept vigil outside the courtroom in the federal courthouse in Camden.

In nearly 35 hours of deliberations so far, the jury has not offered many clues about which way they are leaning. They have made only two substantive requests - both were for transcripts of testimony.

There were no notes or other requests during Sunday's deliberations, other than to leave.

The five defendants are all foreign-born Muslim men who lived for years in the Philadelphia suburb of Cherry Hill. All five are charged with conspiring to kill military personnel and attempted murder. They would face life in prison if they've convicted on those charges.

Four of the men also face weapons charges.

None of the men testified in their trial, but their lawyers say they were not plotting anything.

The trial spanned 26 days of testimony; about two-thirds of it were devoted to two paid FBI informants who made hundreds of hours of recordings with the defendants.

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