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Finding Jury Could Be Tough

A federal judge began the terror conspiracy trial of 12 Muslim fundamentalists Monday by hunting for elusive prey: open-minded jurors willing to give up almost a year of their lives.

The first group of 100 possible jurors who went into Manhattan Federal Court looked bored and bleary-eyed.

But they quickly woke up when Judge Michael Mukasey mentioned the words “six to nine months,” the time the trial is expected to take.

“Oh, Jesus,” muttered an elderly man in the back row. Others grunted or even chuckled, possibly picturing the expression on their bosses’ faces when they said, “See ya next fall.”

Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman and 11 other Islamic fundamentalists charged with planning - but not carrying out - a spate of city terrorist attacks were in the courtroom as Mukasey briefed the first group of jurors.

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