LOS ANGELES -- The chairman and a member of the Jewish Defense League are accused of plotting to bomb the office of an Arab-American congressman and a prominent Los Angeles mosque.
JDL chairman Irv Rubin, 56, and Earl Krugel, 59, were ordered held without bail Wednesday.
Authorities said the two held a series of meetings in October to plan the bombing of the King Fahd Mosque and the San Clemente office of freshman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.
During one secretly audiotaped meeting, Krugel allegedly said Arabs "need a wakeup call" and the JDL needed to do something to one of their "filthy" mosques, according to an affidavit.
Investigators also say Rubin wanted to "blow up an entire building" but lacked the technology.
The pair was arrested Tuesday night after explosive powder was delivered to Krugel's home by a longtime JDL member who had become a federal informant, U.S. Attorney John Gordon said. Other bomb components and weapons were seized at the home.
"If you cross the line from lawfully expressing your political or religious belief to committing violent acts then you will likely end up facing federal prosecution," Gordon said.
Rubin and Krugel were charged in a federal criminal complaint with conspiracy to destroy a building by means of an explosive, which carries up to five years in prison, and possession of a destructive device related to a crime of violence, which carries a 30-year mandatory sentence.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Victor Kenton ordered both men held without bail and set a preliminary hearing for Dec. 27.
The case was broken when an informant who claimed to have committed crimes for the JDL, including planting a bomb at a mosque, contacted an FBI agent on Oct. 18, authorities said. A day later, the informant was instructed to place a bomb at the King Fahd Mosque.
The informant said JDL members had learned how to build a napalm bomb with Styrofoam and gasoline.
It was not immediately clear when the alleged plot began. The suspects allegedly considered other targets, including a bar and a tattoo parlor they believed were owned by white supremacists.
Rubin's attorney, Peter Morris, said his client had nothing to do with the explosives. "It seems to us that, given the timing the government's action is part of an overreaction to the September 11 events," he said.
Rubin's wife, Shelley, said her husband and Krugel were innocent and authorities were "on a witch hunt against Jews to show that they're evenhanded toward Muslims."
Krugel's attorney, Charles L. Kreindler, said the materials seized from his client's house were all legal, and suggested that this may be a case of entrapment.
"The government has been very proactive in this case. They may have sent somebody in to set these guys up," he said. "There's no evidence they have ever been involved in any violent activities."
Tajuddin Shuaib, director of the mosque, said he was astonished by the alleged plot. No threats were received.
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