CAMDEN, NJ - Being an informant for the FBI in the Fort Dix
terror investigation has paid well, a witness explained to jurors
John Stermel, an investigator assigned to an FBI counterterrorism
task force, spent yesterday morning on the stand detailing the
role of informant Mahmoud Omar, who wore a wire for 16 months
in the investigation of five men accused of planning to shoot
soldiers at the Army base.
Defense lawyers say it was Omar who tried to plot an attack
- not their clients.
For his help, authorities will recommend that immigration officials,
who once were considering deporting Omar, offer him legal-resident
status or perhaps even citizenship, Stermel testified.
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By year's end, Omar will have received nearly $240,000 for
his help - $185,000 in payments plus reimbursement for $25,000
in expenses and nearly $29,000 in rent.
Weekly payments of $1,500 began in August 2006, the month Omar
went with one of the defendants, Mohamad Shnewer, to check out
Anticipating defense attacks on Omar's credibility, a prosecutor
asked Stermel about Omar's missteps.
Among them: He tested positive for marijuana once while on
probation; he admitted selling a Social Security number and
was caught in a bank-fraud case for which he has not been prosecuted.
Besides Shnewer, the defendants are Serdar Tatar and brothers
Dritan, Eljvir and Shain Duka.