Jewish Militants Plead Innocent to Los Angeles Plot

LOS ANGELES - The leader and a member of the militant Jewish Defense League pleaded innocent on Tuesday to federal charges of plotting to bomb a Los Angeles-area mosque and a U.S. congressman's office.

JDL Chairman Irv Rubin, 56, and Earl Krugel, 59, were brought into court in shackles and pleaded not guilty to charges they had plotted to bomb the King Fahd mosque in Culver City and the office of Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican of Lebanese Christian descent.

The bombing allegedly was planned for the week of Dec. 13, 2001, and thwarted when a third JDL member turned government informant and agreed to wear a wire in his meetings with Rubin and Krugel. The two men were arrested on Dec. 11, 2001, at a meeting at a suburban Los Angeles restaurant and initially claimed they had been set up by the informant.

Rubin, who assumed leadership of the militant Jewish group in 1985 from founder Rabbi Meir Kahane, turned and blew a kiss to his wife before being led out of court after the short arraignment hearing. A trial date of March 19 was set, with the case to be heard by U.S. District Judge Ronald Lew.

The two men were charged with conspiracy, attempted arson, possession of a destructive device and solicitation to commit a crime of violence, according to the indictment. Rubin also was charged with unlawful possession of a machine gun and possession of an unregistered firearm. If convicted, Rubin faces a maximum penalty of two life sentences plus 75 years, while Krugel could be sentenced to up to 95 years in prison.

Krugel allegedly told the informant the bombings were being planned because "Arabs need a wake-up call." At the same meeting, Rubin allegedly said the JDL needed to let people know they were "alive in a militant way."