John Allen Muhammad, the convicted sniper who had refused to eat after arriving at the Montgomery County jail a week ago, began taking meals over the weekend, his attorney said last night.

Muhammad, 44, who was transferred to Maryland from a Virginia prison, ate two meals Saturday, said public defender Paul DeWolfe, who is representing him.

On Thursday, a judge granted the county the right to force-feed Muhammad if medically needed.

In explaining Muhammad's reason for ending his hunger strike, DeWolfe said, "We are working on issues he is concerned about."

Corrections officials have said in court papers that Muhammad objected to the food at the county jail and to limits on his access to legal documents. It was not clear last night whether any progress had been made in resolving the complaints.

"All I can tell you is that we have been working on it," DeWolfe said.

Montgomery's corrections director, Arthur Wallenstein, said he could not discuss issues of health or feeding that would infringe on inmates' privacy.

The menu for Muhammad's first meals could not be learned. In addition to its regular fare, Wallenstein said, the jail serves special vegan diets for vegetarians. People complying with religious restrictions and those with medical needs also get special food, Wallenstein said.

According to last week's court filing, a jail official said Muhammad had requested a vegan diet but had insisted that he determine when he got certain foods.

Muhammad has been sentenced to death in Prince William County. He and fellow defendant Lee Boyd Malvo face murder charges in six 2002 killings in Montgomery. Malvo, 20, was sentenced to life in prison in a Fairfax County case.