- LOS ANGELES (Reuters)
- Jewish Defense League Chairman Irv Rubin, jailed for allegedly plotting
to bomb a mosque and the offices of a Arab-American congressman, was left
brain dead and on life support on Monday after slitting his throat in a
- "He is on life support and his prognosis is dire,"
Rubin's attorney, Bryan Altman, told Reuters. "He is brain dead. I
don't know if there is any indication that that can change in a positive
- Rubin, 57, had been taken from his cell at the federal
Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles at about 5 a.m. PST
(8 a.m. EST) on Monday when he slashed his throat with a razor blade and
then jumped or fell over a railing.
- He was rushed to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center
and underwent surgery for wounds to his neck and throat and severe head
injuries from the fall but did not regain consciousness, U.S. Marshal's
spokesman William Woolsey said.
- The fiery, controversial Rubin, who emigrated to the
United States from Canada in 1961 and has been national chairman of the
JDL since 1985, was arrested in December and charged along with another
member, Earl Krugel, with the bomb plot on the testimony of an undercover
- Prosecutors say that Rubin and Krugel conspired with
the informant to plant bombs at the King Fahd Mosque in the Los Angeles
suburb of Culver City and an office of Rep. Darrell Issa, a California
Republican of Lebanese Christian descent.
- The indictment against Rubin alleged that Krugel, a dental
hygienist, planned to build a bomb in his own garage and that the informant
was to carry out a bombing the next day. Rubin allegedly approved the bombing
plans and selected the targets.
- Rubin and Krugel were charged with conspiracy, conspiracy
to use a destructive device, attempted arson, attempted arson of a federal
facility, possession of a destructive device and solicitation to commit
a crime of violence.
- FACING LIFE IN PRISON
- Both men, who pleaded innocent, faced a maximum punishment
of life in prison if convicted. They were due in court on Monday for a
status conference in the case.
- "I was informed that Irv tried to slit his throat
with a razor blade he obtained and then jumped over a railing and landed
20 feet below on a cement floor," Krugel's attorney Mark Werksman
- "He's been despondent for months and the pressure
of the upcoming trial weighed heavily on him," Werksman said. "He's
been deteriorating for some time and the pressure of the Monday court appearance
may have pushed him over the top."
- Defense lawyers said the JDL has been a target of FBI
investigations for more than 15 years. The December arrests of the two
men came amid heightened tensions following the Sept. 11 attacks on Washington
and New York City, they said.
- Rubin, who is married with two sons, assumed leadership
of the militant Jewish group in 1985 from its controversial founder, Rabbi
Meir Kahane, who moved to Israel to form a political movement. Kahane was
assassinated in 1990 in New York.
- Rubin, long a thorn in the side of mainstream Jewish
groups, often challenged what he said was their willingness to "turn
the other cheek," preferring a more combative approach that included
praising an Israeli settler who turned his gun on people praying in a mosque
in a killing spree.
- In 1978, Rubin was charged with soliciting murder after
he held a press conference to protest a march in Skokie, Illinois, by the
American Nazi Party and offered to pay anyone who killed or maimed a Nazi.
He was ultimately cleared.
- Authorities also investigated the JDL in connection with
the 1985 murder of Arab-American activist Alex Odeh, which has never been
solved. Rubin said at the time that Odeh had gotten "exactly what
- Though the JDL has become marginalized in recent years
and membership has dwindled, Rubin has been a loud and familiar presence
at protests -- turning up almost daily at the murder trial of O.J. Simpson
to spar with the former football star's supporters -- and took pride in
his more than 40 arrests.
- In September, he won from behind bars a ruling by a California
appeals court that barred officials in suburban Burbank from invoking Jesus
Christ at public meetings.
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