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 last night.
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 also 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 onto the Army base, then open fire on soldiers there.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert B. Kugler said last month that he would hold a bail hearing 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 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.
Last month, lawyers for the five men filed motions asking Kugler to move the defendants out of the special housing unit, or at least order that they be given the same rights as inmates in the general population. Kugler said he had no authority over how the jail handled the men, but he said he would hold a hearing on Dec. 20 to determine whether they should be given bail.
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.