The investigation of men accused of plotting to attack soldiers on Fort Dix led yesterday to a guilty plea in a very different sort of case.

Cherry Hill municipal court clerk Debra H. Benecke admitted fixing two traffic tickets for one of the suspects.

"She made a dumb decision to try to help out someone who really couldn't help himself," her attorney, Scott Schweiger, said in an interview.

Benecke pleaded guilty to tampering with public records. Benecke, who worked for the courts for 14 years, faces probation when she is sentenced on Feb. 1. The 49-year-old is also barred from holding a government job in New Jersey.

On Oct. 16, 2006, local police charged Dritan Duka with making an illegal U-turn and driving without a license, and he was given a Nov. 9 court date.

Authorities say Benecke helped him out of the court date by marking the tickets to make them appear that they had been taken care of when, in fact, they had not.

Schweiger said Benecke felt bad for Duka, a father of five who worked for his family's roofing company and was an undocumented immigrant - and therefore unable to get a driver's license.

"Morally, she felt she was doing the right thing," he said.

- AP