Talk of paintball and AK-47s dominated the cross-examination of Mahmoud Omar yesterday as the star prosecution witness finished his 11th day on the witness stand in the Fort Dix terrorism trial.
With both jurors and the judge appearing to grow restless, defense attorney Michael N. Huff quizzed Omar on a number of conversations and events - including a March 2007 paintball game at a South Jersey farm - that already had been the focus of detailed testimony.
Omar, a paid FBI informant who secretly recorded more than 200 conversations during a 16-month investigation, compared paintball with an Army training exercise.
In fact, the government alleges that several of the defendants engaged in the games as preparation for an assault on the Fort Dix military complex.
The defense has argued that playing paintball was an innocent activity engaged in routinely by defendants Dritan, 29, Shain, 27, and Eljvir Duka, 25, three of the five defendants.
For at least the third time during the month-old trial, jurors yesterday saw a transcript of a conversation in which Dritan Duka, Huff's client, said, "I love this. . . . It's fun."
The conversation took place in March 2007 on one of two occasions in which Omar and the Dukas played paintball.
During that same excursion, Duka and Omar discussed gun purchases, with Omar suggesting that he had a supplier who had access to assault rifles and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.
Duka said he would take "two or three" AK-47s, Russian-made rifles. While the prosecution has alleged that the guns were to be used in a jihad-inspired assault on the military base, Duka in the same conversation told Omar that he wanted the weapons for target shooting.
He then complained that when he and his friends went to the Poconos to shoot at a firing range, they did not have enough guns and that "everybody has to wait."
With additional guns, he said, "everybody can shoot."
Omar, who was crossed-examined for six days by Rocco Cipparone Jr., the lawyer for lead defendant Mohamad Shnewer, is expected back on the stand when the trial resumes this morning.
Huff has yet to finish his questioning, and lawyers for three other defendants have not asked Omar any questions.
During yesterday's afternoon session, several members of the anonymously chosen jury appeared to lose interest, nodding and whispering to one another and rolling their eyes when an issue that already had been raised several times was once again the focus of questioning.
Several jurors rocked back in their chairs and stared at the ceiling. One male juror appeared to nod off on several occasions.
Judge Robert Kugler has urged defense attorneys to speed up the process and appeared to lose patience several times during Huff's questioning of Omar.
The Dukas, Shnewer, 24, and Serdar Tatar, 25, have been charged with conspiring to kill American military personnel by plotting an attack on Fort Dix. The Dukas and Shnewer also face weapons offenses.
The five foreign-born Muslims, all raised in the Cherry Hill area, could be sentenced to life if convicted of conspiracy.