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Bail Denied for JDL Bomb Plot Suspect

Courts: Judge cites an FBI affidavit on Earl Krugel's alleged role in plans to blow up a mosque and a congressman's office.

January 05, 2002|DAVID ROSENZWEIG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A federal magistrate denied bail Friday for Earl Krugel, one of two Jewish Defense League leaders arrested last month on charges of plotting to blow up a mosque in Culver City and an office of Rep. Darrell E. Issa (R-Vista).

Judge Victor B. Kenton dismissed defense arguments that Krugel, the JDL's West Coast coordinator, posed no danger to the community.

Kenton ordered the 59-year-old dental hygienist returned to the federal Metropolitan Detention Center, where he and JDL Chairman Irv Rubin, a co-defendant, are being held in solitary confinement.

Rubin was previously denied bail as a flight risk and a potential danger to the public.

The next development in the case will be indictments against the pair by a federal grand jury.

At the hearing attended by about a dozen of Krugel's relatives and friends, defense lawyer Mark Werksman asked that his client be freed on $150,000 of secured bail and placed on electronic monitoring while he prepares for trial.

He said Krugel has no prior felony convictions and only "a minor rap sheet" for protest activities that occurred more than 20 years ago.

As for the alleged bombing plot, Werksman said that Krugel was "canoodled, cajoled and enticed" by an FBI informant within the JDL who "conceived the idea, directed the planning and propelled it forward."

Citing an FBI case agent's affidavit, however, Kenton said that Krugel appeared to have played an active role in the plot.

"I counted at least 10 planning meetings that allegedly took place at Mr. Krugel's home," said the judge.

Kenton also noted that the FBI claims to have a tape recording of Krugel admitting he was involved in other bombing attempts.

According to the affidavit, a JDL member contacted the FBI in October saying he had been asked by Rubin and Krugel to take part in attacks on local Arab institutions. He became a cooperating witness and agreed to wear a concealed tape recorder.

Authorities said Rubin selected the two targets: the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City and the San Clemente offices of Issa, who is of Lebanese descent.

Krugel and Rubin were arrested Dec. 11 after the informant dropped off five pounds of explosive powder at Krugel's home in Reseda.

Both are being held on charges of conspiring to blow up a building, which carries a maximum five-year sentence, and possession of a destructive device related to a crime of violence, which carries a mandatory 30-year sentence.

Though denying bail for Krugel, Kenton agreed to talk to the warden at the detention center about permitting the two defendants and their lawyers to meet together to discuss the case.

Werksman complained that Rubin and Krugel are currently barred from having any contact with each other for security reasons.

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