TORRANCE FIRE TIED TO JDL MEMBER
Courts: Man allegedly boasted of firebombing the "Holocaust
By Matt Krasnowski / Copley News Service
Daily Breeze (Torrance, California) - Wed., November 27, 2002
A Jewish Defense League member claimed credit in a taped conversation for firebombing a "Nazi bookstore" that law enforcement sources contend is the 1984 arson fire that destroyed the Torrance office of a group that claims the Holocaust was a hoax.
Prosecutors alleged in court Monday that during their investigation of JDL member Earl Krugel he claimed credit for a firebombing of a bookstore. They refused to discuss the bookstore allegation beyond what was in the paperwork. But a law enforcement source familiar with the probe said investigators strongly believe Krugel is referring to the July 4, 1984, firebombing of the Torrance office of the Institute for Historical Review, which was a lightning rod for controversy during the early 1980s.
The fire at the group's Noontide Press, 2539 W. 237th St., was believed to be started by a Molotov cocktail or by someone dousing the building with gasoline and igniting it, police said at the time. The fire caused $300,000 to $400,000 damage. Krugel is currently in custody and was arrested last year along with late JDL chairman Irv Rubin on charges of plotting to bomb a Culver City mosque and an office of Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista. Krugel has pleaded not guilty and his trial is set to begin in January.
The bookstore allegation stems from Krugel's attempt to be released on bail. He contended he should be released in light of Rubin's death earlier this month after an alleged suicide attempt. Prosecutors opposed bail, contending Krugel was a danger to the community and citing a transcript from a snippet of November 2001 taped conversation between Krugel and an informant.
According to court papers, the informant asked Krugel about the biggest bombing he has "ever seen, done" and asks if the JDL bombed offices of the Anti-Defamation League.
"Nobody hit the ADL although they deserve it richly," Krugel reportedly said. "Uh, no it was on the uh, bookstore... that Nazi bookstore... the Holocaust deniers."
"I remember you telling me something about that," the informant replies.
"That was beautiful, man," Krugel said. "I did it. It was better than I expected."
Krugel also notes that authorities never linked the arson fire to the JDL. "Not one ounce of heat came down with it," he said.
During a hearing Monday, Krugel's lawyer, Mark Werksman, said his client "denies being part of any such scheme." Werksman said the allegations should not be considered in the bail request because Krugel "is not charged" with any bombing and the allegation "is not proven."
U.S. Magistrate Judge Victor Kenton rejected the bail bid, saying there was evidence to support keeping Krugel jailed even without the new
The Institute for Historical Review's office and bookstore had been the target of vandalism and protests in the past and a multimillion-dollar lawsuit brought by a concentration camp survivor. Mark Weber, director of the IHR, said he wasn't surprised that the attack was linked to the JDL.
"Krugel's statement confirms our suspicions about that attack," Weber said. "It's good to see some sort of resolution of this crime." Weber said that after the fire Rubin came to the location and denied responsibility for the fire but praised whoever did it.