- LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -
and lawyers for two Jewish Defense League members charged with plotting
to bomb a mosque and a congressman's office said on Thursday the men were
innocent and set up by a "crazy" man working as a confidential
- Bryan Altman, the attorney for JDL chairman Irv Rubin,
said the charges were false. "Mr Rubin has spent his entire career
fighting terrorism. He does not perpetuate acts of terrorism. ... The
confidential informant against him is crazy, a man with a very troubled
background. He is not a credible witness." He also said the charges
were politically motivated.
- Rubin, 56, who assumed leadership of the militant Jewish
group in 1985 from its controversial founder, the late Rabbi Meir Kahane,
is being held without bail along with one of his followers, Earl Krugel,
- Both men are charged with conspiring to blow up the King
Fahd Mosque, an $8 million religious institution that opened in 1998 in
the Los Angeles suburb of Culver City, and an office of Southern California
Republican congressman Darrell Issa, who is of Lebanese Christian
- In a telephone interview with Reuters, attorney Altman
called the arrest of his client, a man long known for his pugnacious views
and volatile temper, as a political act.
- "This case has a political motivation. Because of
the timing it looks like it is aimed at appeasing the Arab world. Mr. Rubin
is not someone who has stood idly by. He is verbally and spiritually
to acts of terrorism and would never agree to bomb any one."
- Barry Krugel, the brother of Earl Krugel, said he was
in "total shock" over first the arrest and then the
methods" employed by law enforcement officials during a search of
the Krugel home.
- "We've been around for over 30 years. We're not
so stupid as to do that," he said, referring to the JDL. He added
that the government's confidential informant entrapped his brother and
described the man as a "fink bastard snitch," who drifted into
the group about a year-and-a-half ago, saying he was from the U.S. Navy,
- "This guy was in deep with the government"
and not a legitimate member of JDL. "No member would ever turn on
a fellow Jew," Krugel said.
- NO BOMBS DETONATED
- Krugel and Rubin face one count each of conspiring to
destroy a building by means of an explosive and possession of a destructive
device during and in relation to a violent crime. If convicted each could
face 35 years in prison.
- In announcing the arrests on Wednesday, federal officials
said the two men plotted with a third, a former JDL member turned
informant, to make and detonate bombs. The informant told authorities of
the plot last October and agreed to wear a wire in his meetings with Rubin
and Krugel, officials said. No bombs were detonated and no one was
- A complaint against the two men said that Krugel told
the informant the bombings were necessary because "Arabs need a
call." At that meeting Rubin added that the JDL needs to let people
know they are "alive in a militant way."
- The complaint added that the unnamed source was asked
to photograph the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles and help
purchase bomb components and that Krugel said he would build the bombs
at his residence. The source would then place the explosives.
- The source said he was first told one bomb was to be
placed in the offices of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. He arrived
at a meeting in suburban Encino with 5 pounds (2.2 kilos) of explosive
powder in his vehicle ready for delivery to Krugel.
- However at their last meeting Tuesday night, the two
men said the bombs were instead to be placed at the Culver City Mosque
and Issa's office. Federal agents followed and arrested the two men a short
time after the meeting.
- A search of Krugel's house turned up bomb making
including caps, pipes and fuses and a dozen firearms. The bombs were
to cause "considerable damage" detonated and possibly death to
people in the vicinity, officials said.
- Asked about the weapons and bomb making materials found
in his brother's house, Barry Krugel said, "Earl has legal weapons.
Why should the world own guns and Jews not own weapons?"
- "My brother owns a miniature cannon. It uses powder.
So what," he said.
- The JDL was founded by Kahane, who was assassinated in
New York in 1990. Before his death he founded the extremist KACH party
in Israel which advocated the expulsion of all Arabs from Israel. The party
was later outlawed.
- (Additional reporting by Sarah Tippit)