LOS ANGELES — A Jewish Defense League member was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison for his role in a plot to bomb a mosque and a Lebanese-American congressman’s office.
During the hearing, Earl Krugel, 62, apologized and said he was a changed man.
But U.S. District Judge Ronald S.W. Lew described Krugel’s actions as “promoting hatred in the most vile way” and sentenced him to the maximum under Krugel’s plea agreement. Lew said Krugel had failed a polygraph test five times during the investigation.
“You are not that changed a person. You have more to give,” the judge said.
Krugel pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the civil rights of worshippers at Culver City’s King Fahd Mosque and one count of carrying an explosive device in connection with a conspiracy to impede or injure Republican U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa.
Krugel will get credit for three years he has already served in jail.
“The court has taken all the evidence into consideration and sentenced him appropriately,” the mosque’s director of public relations, Usman Madha, said by phone.
Issa thanked law enforcement officials in a statement issued after the hearing.
“I am thankful to my friends and colleagues, particularly those from the Jewish community, who have condemned these extremists,” he said.
Krugel, a dental assistant, and the late JDL leader Irv Rubin were arrested in 2001. Hours before they were to appear in court in 2002, Rubin slashed his neck with a razor blade and tumbled 18 feet over a railing at a federal detention center. He died nine days later.
After Rubin’s death, Krugel struck the plea deal.
The Jewish Defense League was founded in 1968 by Rabbi Meir Kahane. Kahane advocated the forcible removal of Arabs from Israel. He was assassinated in 1990 in New York.