CNN, Nov. 4, 2002
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) –Jewish Defense League Chairman Irv Rubin was declared brain dead Monday after attempting suicide in the prison where he was awaiting trial on charges of conspiring to bomb a mosque and a U.S. congressman’s office, his lawyer and a federal official said.
“It’s a terrible personal loss,” said attorney Peter Morris.
Rubin, 57, was released from his cell in the Metropolitan Detention Center between 5:30 and 6 a.m. (8:30 and 9 a.m. ET) for breakfast, said William Woolsey, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service.
“Sometime after that, he sustained self-inflicted injuries,” using a shaving razor to cut his throat, Woolsey said.
Rubin then fell or jumped from his cell block tier to the level below, an 18-foot drop, and landed on his head.
Woolsey said Rubin’s intention was to take his own life.
Rubin was taken to County USC Hospital, where he was put on life support and declared brain dead, Morris said.
A hearing that Rubin and Earl Krugel, another JDL member charged in the case, were to have attended Monday was postponed.
A federal grand jury indicted the two men in January on charges that include conspiracy to use a destructive device, attempted arson and attempted arson at a U.S. government facility.
Rubin and Krugel were accused of planning to bomb the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City, the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles and the district office of Rep. Darrell Issa.
The bombings were to be carried out by a third party, prosecutors contend.
The purpose of the attacks was to send a “wake-up call” or terrorize Muslims in defense of the interests of Jews, according to an FBI affidavit. Both men denied the charges and suspected federal authorities may have entrapped them, according to their attorneys.
The alleged plot was broken up by another JDL associate, who tipped federal authorities and began cooperating as part of a sting operation in October 2001.
Both men faced prison sentences of up to 35 years if convicted of all charges.
Issa, 48, a first-term Republican who represents California’s 48th District, is a former army officer who is a Christian of Lebanese descent. He serves on a subcommittee of the International Relations Committee.
The Jewish Defense League advocates the use of “all necessary means” — even force and violence — to defend the interest of Jews, as well as the return of all Jews to Israel, according to its Web site.