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Rubin's Lawyers Seek Probe Into Fall

Faulting the FBI's findings, attorneys for the Jewish Defense League leader press for an independent investigation.

November 08, 2002|David Rosenzweig | Times Staff Writer

Accusing the FBI of bias, Irv Rubin's lawyers called Thursday for an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the Jewish Defense League leader's headlong plunge from a balcony at a federal detention center earlier this week.

In a letter to federal prosecutors calling for appointment of an independent investigative team, lawyers Bryan Altman and Peter Morris also asked for copies of any videotapes that might have captured what happened before Rubin went over the rail. The attorneys said the FBI was biased against their client.

Federal officials said there were no video cameras on the tier outside Rubin's cell.

Rubin, who was awaiting trial on charges of plotting to bomb a mosque and a congressman's office, tried to slash himself with a disposable razor and then dove 18 feet over a railing after being called out of his cell Monday, according to prison officials.

The FBI, which was called in to investigate the incident, said it had interviewed more than 15 guards and inmates who corroborated the account.

Matt McLaughlin, an FBI spokesman, said he would not respond to the charge of FBI bias. "About all we can say is that we have conducted a thorough investigation, the results of which show that Mr. Rubin attempted to commit suicide," McLaughlin said. "There is simply no information that this investigation has developed to contradict that."

Morris said that Rubin is a "devoted family man" and would have left behind a note to his wife and two sons if he had been contemplating suicide. No such note was found.

Rubin remained in a coma Thursday at County-USC Medical Center.

The U.S. attorney's office had no immediate response to the request for an independent probe.

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