JDL's Irv Rubin Brain Dead
After Suicide Attempt

By Dan Whitcomb

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 suicide attempt.
"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 way."
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 informant.
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.
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 said.
"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 he deserved."
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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