updated 12/10/2008 7:39:42 PM ET 2008-12-11T00:39:42

The defense rested Wednesday in the case against five Muslim immigrants accused of planning to kill soldiers at the Army's Fort Dix base in New Jersey, concluding 25 days of testimony.

Defense lawyers called just two witnesses in the case that prosecutors say could have been one of the most devastating examples of homegrown terrorism in the United States.

U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler said he would instruct jurors Thursday. Lawyers are to begin their closing arguments Monday, with deliberations set to start Tuesday.

The government relied heavily on two paid informants — both entered the country illegally and have criminal convictions — to build the case against Mohamad Shnewer, Serdar Tatar and brothers Dritan, Eljvir and Shain Duka.

All five defendants are charged with conspiracy to kill military personnel and attempted murder. Four of them face weapons offenses.

The men — all foreign-born Muslims from Jordan, Turkey and the former Yugoslavia, who lived for years in the comfortable Philadelphia suburb of Cherry Hill — face life in prison if they're convicted on the most serious charges.

Their lawyers acknowledge that the men were interested in guns and at times spoke ill of America, but say that they were not seriously planning anything.

The defense argues that it was the informants who tried to push their clients toward a plot.

Rather than call their own witnesses, defense attorneys chiefly made their case by tearing apart the government's. Of the 25 days of testimony, defense attorneys used 11 on cross-examination.

Their main witness was a computer scientist, who testified Wednesday it cannot be determined from computer records whether one of the suspects zoomed in on an Internet map of the Army post in September 2006.

The government called an FBI computer expert who disagreed with that assessment.

Prosecutors had rested their case Tuesday.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments