Los Angeles-- A member of the Jewish Defense League plans to plead guilty to conspiring to bomb a mosque and the office of a Lebanese-American congressman, his lawyers said Friday.
Earl Krugel, 60, will face 10 to 20 years in prison under terms of a plea agreement filed Friday. If convicted at trial, he could have faced life without possibility of parole.
"He wanted to avoid that horrible consequence," attorney Mark Werksman said.
Prosecutors believe "the interests of justice are met by this resolution," said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles.
"We have a case here where we have an older man looking at a very, very lengthy prison sentence," Mrozek said.
Krugel and the late Irv Rubin, leader of the militant JDL, were arrested in 2001. They were accused of conspiring to bomb the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City and a field office of Rep. Darrell E. Issa, R-Vista.
Rubin died in a hospital in November, nine days after federal officials said he slashed his neck with a prison-issued razor blade and tumbled 18 feet over a detention-center railing. His estate has filed a $5 million wrongful death claim against the government.
Krugel is to plead guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to violate the civil rights of the mosque's congregation and to carrying an explosive device in connection with a conspiracy to impede or injure an officer of the United States.
Werksman said Krugel's decision was prompted by the stress caused by Rubin's death and the nation's political climate.
"It's hard to defend against an alleged act of domestic terrorism in the current climate," Werksman said. "We felt it was advisable to accept a very reasonable offer."
Had the case gone to trial, Werksman said he would have argued that Krugel was entrapped by overzealous FBI agents.
The JDL was founded by Meir Kahane in 1968 to mount an armed response to anti-Semitic acts in New York.