One of the five men accused of planning an armed attack on Fort Dix wrote to another inmate in the jail where he is being held that "we were going to sacrifice all for the sake of Allah in the name of jihad," according to court papers filed late tonight.
Federal prosecutors quoted from the letter written by Eljvir Duka in a filing opposing a motion from the five men seeking bail.
Prosecutors also said jail guards found a DVD hidden inside a law book that showed Osama bin Laden and other Islamic extremists making speeches. Duka's brother, Dritan, another defendant, said the DVD belonged to him. The DVD was produced by al Qaeda, the court filings said.
Prosecutors revealed these new details in an effort to show that the five defendants are dangerous and should not be allowed to go free on bail. Prosecutors said they "present grave security concerns."
The suspects - Mohamed Shnewer, a U.S. citizen born in Jordan; Serdar Tatar, a legal U.S. resident born in Turkey; and Cherry Hill brothers Shain, Eljvir and Dritan Duka, all illegal immigrants from the former Yugoslavia - have pleaded not guilty.
A sixth man, Agron Abdullahu, a refugee from Kosovo who lived in Atlantic County, was accused of supplying guns to three of the defendants. He pleaded guilty in October.
They were accused of planning to use a pizza delivery pass to get on to the Army base, where they would open fire on soldiers.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert B. Kugler said last month that he would hold a bail hearing on Dec. 20 for the defendants after persistent complaints about their treatment in a special housing unit at the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia.
They have been held there without bail since their arrests in May.
In letters to Kugler, the defendants have accused guards of calling them "terrorists," complained about the few visits they are allowed with family members and even grumbled about the quality of the food.
The men and their lawyers also have said that they are not given enough access and time to review the voluminous evidence against them, including transcripts of about 200 hours of conversations secretly recorded by an FBI informant.
In their filings, prosecutors detailed how jail officials had customized a staff room solely for the Fort Dix defendants to review evidence.
"Essentially, the defendants have their own conference room at the (jail) in which to prepare for trial," prosecutors wrote.
They also provided four pages of jail records, showing how many times the defendants were allowed to use the law library and review discovery.
The DVD discovered in the law book was the same one that Shnewer gave to an FBI informant, prosecutors said. The defendants had access to the DVD in jail because it is evidence against them.
Prosecutors said Shnewer and the other defendants "may be spreading jihadist recruitment videos to other inmates."
They also said Eljvir Duka wrote his letters to another inmate through a jail house method of passing "kites" - messages attached to a string with a weight attached. The kites then are slide across the hallway and through cell doors.
In his kite, Duka also wrote of fighting "in the way of Allah, first with the mouth then with the sword . . . we weren't able to finish," according to court papers.
Duka signed with an alias, "Suleyman."
"The only reasonable conclusion is that these defendants must be incarcerated in a manner designed to limit the possibility of violence," prosecutors wrote.
Kugler had pushed for the trial to be wrapped up in 2007, but he has pushed back the date several times. Trial is slated now for March 24.
While he has shown little patience for the defendants' more pedestrian complaints, he has reached out to the jail to make sure the men have enough freedom and time to assist with their cases.
He also said at a hearing last month that he would consider hiring more court-appointed defense attorneys and possibly arranging for the defendants to be escorted, under guard, to their lawyers' offices to prepare for trial.
But, prosecutors said the men have been given "ample opportunity" to prepare in jail.