It was on the second floor of the headquarters of B'nai B'rith, the Jewish service organization, that a Hanafi Muslim hit him over the eye with a pistol, Rabbi Samuel C. Fishman testified yesterday. And it was on the second floor that he first heard Hamaas Abdul Khaalis say that "people will die" unless his demands were met.
It was also on the second floor. Fisherman told the D. C. Superior Court jury, that he saw the man he knew as "Eddie the Painter" struck by another Hanafi and where his hands, like those of other hostages, were bound behind him. His hands remained bound, he said, until the siege ended almost 39 hours later.
After about two hours, the hostages on the second floor were taken in small groups up to the eighth floor, the rabbi said, and there were more threats from Khaalis, who is accused with 11 other Hanafis of murder and kidnaping in connection with the takeover of B'nai B'rith and two other Washington buildings last March 9.
"He said to us - this is paraphrasing - 'I want to remind all of you of a terrible deed which happened to me and my family, something about which you in this room did not show any compassion when it occured and I'm out for justice in this matter,'" Fishman said in a soft and precise voice.
"He said this was only the begining, 'You will be hearing of other things to come,' that those who ignored him would sit up and take notice.'
"Later, he said, 'We have taken over the District Building and the Ismaic Mosque and there is still more to come that will ensure that everyone will take notice.'"
Fishman was the first hostage to testify at the trial, which went into its second day of testimony before the jury yesterday. By calling him, Assistant U. S. Attorneys Martin J. Linsky and Mark H. Tuohey III, the prosecutors, began the process of proving in court that one of the most publicized crimes in the city's history had taken place.
The rabbi's testimony came on a day that began with an apology from Judge Nicholas S. Nunzio to Harry T. Alexander, a former Superior Court judge Nicholas S. Nunzio to Harry T. Alexander, a former Superior Court judge who is representing Khaalis. It moved through several heated clashes between Nunzio and prosecution and defense attorneys, the testimony of a building guard at B'nai B'rith, a motion from the defense that Nunzio control his facial expressions, and a suggestion from the judge that the defense was putting "nonsense" in the record.
Nunzio apologized to Alexander because (See HANAFIS, C3, Col. 3> a warning that he gave Alexander Thursday that he would cite the former judge for contempt of court unless he obeyed the rules of the court, inadvertently had been carried over a live microphone.
"I suggest that I owe you an apology not for the procedure, but for the fact that it became public through an electronic error," Nunzio said. "I recognize that you have been embarassed and I have been embarrassed as well. I hope you accept my apology."
"I do, your honor," Alexander replied.
But Alexander incurred Nunzio's displeasure during his cross-examination of Rabbi Fishman. Alexander asked Fishman if he knew the real name of "Eddie the Painter," and Fishman replied that he did not.
"Isn't he way down on the totem pole in salary?" Alexander asked.
"Objection!" said prosecutor Tuohey.
Mr. Alexander, that's a totally improper question," Nunzio said.
"I'm going to find out who 'Eddie the Painter'is," Alexander replied.
"No, sir, not in my courtroom," Nunzio said. "I suggest that you don't turn your back on this court."
Alexander, who was facint rhe jury box, said he was "standing the way the prosecutor was."
"No, sir, you're not," the judge said.
"I'm one of the most. . . . " Alexander was unable to finish the sentence, for Nunzio interupted.
Mr. Marshal, take the jury out," the judge said.
Nunzio then called a bench conference. These conferences are matters of public record. But because they deal with sensitive questions of law, they are conducted out of the hearing of everyone in the courtroom except the lawyers, court reporters and other necessary officials. It was during such Nunzio's admonition of Alexander accidentally was carried over a loud-speaker system.
What was said at yesterday's bench conference remained confidential. But Alexander said later that he had not been cited for contempt.
During his testimony, Rabbi Fishman identified six of the seven Hanafis who are accused of taking over the B'nai B'rith headquarters at 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW. Three other Hanfis are accused of taking over the Islamic Center at 2551 Massachusetts Ave. NW and two are accused of taking the District Building at 14th and E Streets NW.
In all, the defendants are accused of taking 149 hostages. One person was killed by a shotgun blast at the District Building and several others were injured there and at the other two locations.
Although the defendants repeatedly have made clear their determination to be tried together, each is now receiving a separate trial in the eyes of the law. The jury of four men and eight women will be asked to return seperate verdicts for each of the 12.
The fact that all are being tried at once presents problems for the defense attorneys and these began to emerge yesterday. While other co-counsel were cross-examining Rabbi Fishman, Alexander repeatedly objected to questions about specific things that Khaalis allegedly did or said.
Judge Nunzio sustained these objections over the protests of other defense counsel.
The atmosphere seemed less tense as yesterday's session began than it appeared to be on Thursday. But tempers began to rise as the day wore on.
Prosecutor Linsky angrily asked a question during a technical hearing about the admissibility of certain evidence.
"I'm cautioning you," Nunzio said. As several defense attorneys jumped to their feet to object to what Linsky had said, the judge added:
"I further suggest, Mr. Linsky, that you control yourself . . . . Gentlemen, I told you yesterday that one objection would be enough."
At another point, Rabbi Fishman referred to the "black suit" Alexander was wearing.
In fact, the attorney was wearing a black velvet jacket, charcoal gray slacks, black socks, black suede shoes, a gray vest, a white shirt, a black-and-white tie, two gold rings and a gold chain with a clasped hands ornament around his neck.
"Is this a black suit?" he asked Fishman.
"A black outfit," said the Rabbi.
"This is total nonsense," said Nunzio.
The trial, which is expected to take 10 weeks, is scheduled to resume Monday.