Jury selection begins in Fort Dix plot case

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) - September 29, 2008

You can read court papers in the Fort Dix Case by clicking here.

Lawyers were expected to take three weeks or more to seat 12 jurors and six alternates. The trial itself will likely last several months.

Prospective jurors were given questionnaires to fill out detailing any knowledge of the case and their own biases.

The government says five men were moving forward with a plan to shoot soldiers on the New Jersey Army installation when they were arrested in May 2007. No attack was carried out and lawyers for the men say there was no plot.

The men - all foreign-born Muslims in their 20s who spent several years in southern New Jersey - are charged with conspiracy to murder soldiers and attempted murder. They'll face life in prison if they are convicted.

U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler said opening arguments were expected to begin in late October.

As a security measure, Kugler has taken the relatively rare step of keeping the jury anonymous, so even lawyers in the case won't know their names.

Letters were sent to some 1,500 New Jersey residents weeks ago to summon them as potential jurors. Hundreds have already been excused because of schedule conflicts and other hardships.

The suspects are due in court later this week for a hearing over whether prosecutors can introduce evidence that includes one of the men allegedly discussing attacking other sites such as the White House and Philadelphia International Airport.

Fort Dix is used mostly to train reservists for duty in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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