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Rubin Estate Files Claim

The wrongful-death filing seeks $5 million in the apparent suicide of the Jewish Defense League leader, who died in federal custody.

January 24, 2003|David Rosenzweig | Times Staff Writer

Jewish Defense League leader Irv Rubin's estate has filed a $5-million wrongful-death claim against the U.S. government stemming from his apparent suicide last November at the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles.

If the government rejects the claim, Rubin's heirs can proceed with a lawsuit in U.S. District Court.

Rubin, 57, was awaiting trial on charges of conspiring to bomb a mosque and a congressman's office when he allegedly slashed his throat with a safety razor and then jumped head-first from a balcony at the federal lockup. He died in a hospital nine days later.

The FBI, which investigated the incident, declared his death a suicide. Rubin's widow, Shelley, suggested, however, that her husband might have been murdered.

In letters sent last week to officials at the federal Bureau of Prisons, the U.S. Marshal's Service and the U.S. attorney's office, the Rubin family's attorney, Peter Morris, did not raise the issue of possible foul play. He contended that federal agents and employees carelessly and negligently monitored Rubin during his nearly yearlong stay at the detention center.

Federal authorities had no comment Thursday

Reached at his office, Morris said he was not ruling out the possibility that Rubin took his own life. He said he sent letters last year to all federal agencies involved in the case asking for details of the circumstances in Rubin's death. "So far," he said, "they've just stonewalled us."

Morris had been representing Rubin in the pending criminal case in which he was accused of conspiring to bomb the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City and a field office of U.S. Rep. Darrell E. Issa (R-Vista), a Lebanese American. Also charged in the bombing plot was Earl Krugel, the JDL's Western regional director, who remains in custody at the federal jail pending trial.

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