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Defense Seeks to Purge Racist Remarks on JDL Tape


Besides denigrating Arabs, Jewish Defense League leader Earl Krugel made racist remarks about African Americans during secretly recorded conversations with an FBI informant, according to defense documents filed in connection with his upcoming bombing conspiracy trial.

Krugel's lawyer has asked U.S. District Judge Ronald S.W. Lew to bar prosecutors from playing the offensive portions of the tape recordings when the trial gets underway in mid-November.

"The racist expressions used by Mr. Krugel are irrelevant to the case at bar," defense attorney Mark Werksman declared in his court papers.

"And even if somehow relevant, the introduction of such evidence could prejudice the jury or mislead or confuse them into forming a negative impression of Mr. Krugel and possibly convicting him out of a distaste for his language, rather than because he is guilty of the offenses charged," Werksman said.

Lew has scheduled a hearing on the motion in early November.

Krugel, 59, the JDL's West Coast coordinator, and Irv Rubin, 56, the group's national director, are accused of plotting to blow up the Muslim Public Affairs Council offices in Los Angeles, the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City and a field office of Rep. Darrell E. Issa (R-Vista), an Arab American.

The men, who are being held without bail, have denied the charges. They say that Danny Gillis, a JDL member-turned-FBI informant, concocted the bomb plot and tried to entrap them in order to oust them as leaders of the organization.

The trial is expected to revolve largely around the contents of the surreptitious tape recordings. Many of the conversations took place at Krugel's home and at a popular delicatessen in the San Fernando Valley. Most were between Krugel and Gillis but some included Rubin as well.

During the meetings, prosecutors allege, the bombing targets were discussed and Gillis was directed to buy some of the bomb components, including gunpowder and pipes.

Werksman cited six instances on the tapes in which Krugel told racist jokes or made racially obnoxious comments.

Reached for comment about the remarks, Werksman denied that his client is a racist.

"He's a dedicated, zealous advocate of protecting the Jewish community and, in unguarded moments, he used derogatory language that does not reflect his true feelings about other peoples' race and ethnicity," the defense attorney said.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Gregory Jessner, the lead prosecutor in the case, had no immediate comment on Werksman's motion. He said the government plans to file a response with the court before the scheduled hearing.

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