The leader of the radical Jewish Defense League and a member of the group have pleaded innocent to charges of plotting to bomb the office of a U.S. congressman and a Los Angeles mosque. The two face life in prison if found guilty.
Prosecutors say Irv Rubin, chairman of the Jewish Defense League, and member Earl Krugel planned to blow up a California field office of Arab-American congressman Darrell Issa. Prosecutors also say the two men planned to bomb the King Fahd mosque in the Los Angeles suburb of Culver City. Neither site was actually bombed.
Authorities say an informant delivered two kilograms of explosives to Mr. Krugel's home in December, and the two suspects were arrested shortly afterward
Mr. Krugel's lawyer, Mark Werksman, argues that his client was drawn into the plot by a government informant and by overzealous agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "This case at all times was orchestrated and propelled by the FBI through a confidential informant, who every step of the way in the investigation and prosecution of this case was meeting with the FBI, being coached by the FBI," says Mr. Werkseman.
Defense lawyers for both men say that was entrapment. A successful entrapment defense could result in a jury acquitting the pair. However, prosecutor Gregory Jessner says conversations that were secretly recorded by investigators will prove the men are guilty. "It's the sort of thing that we have trials for," he says. "I mean, when we put on the evidence we intend to show that the defendants were not entrapped, but until that time I really can't comment any further."
If found guilty, the two men will each face double terms of life in prison, plus an additional 75 years for Irv Rubin and an another 95 years for Earl Krugel. They face trial in Los Angeles March 19.
The Jewish Defense League was founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane, who was assassinated in New York in 1990.