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JDO Activist Mordechai Levy Indicted on Attempted Murder Charges

August 18, 1989

NEW YORK (AP) _ A militant Jewish leader was indicted Thursday on charges of attempted murder and other counts for allegedly spraying a Greenwich Villge street with gunfire and wounding a 69-year-old man.

The eight-count indictment charged that Mordechai Levy, 27, head of the Jewish Defense Organization, tried to kill Irving Rubin, national director of the Jewish Defense League, and two other men Aug. 10 outside his apartment, said District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.

Levy told police that Rubin and Steven Rombom and Allon Klebanoff, both reported to be process servers, were throwing rocks at his windows on the second floor of the building. He said he thought the men meant to kill him.

The three men had gone to Levy’s place to serve legal papers in connection with a defamation suit Rubin and his wife had filed against Levy in Los Angeles.

The lawsuit alleges that Levy said in a broadcast on KFI-AM radio that Rubin was guilty of drug dealing, extortion and money laundering, and charges that Levy said Rubin’s wife, Shelly, had attempted suicide by a drug overdose.

Morgenthau said the grand jury also charged Levy with first-degree assault for shooting Dominick Spinelli, 69, a bystander wounded in the left knee while sitting in a parked van. Spinelli was hospitalized for five days and underwent surgery.

Levy also was charged with reckless endangerment for jeopardizing the lives of those in the area. He gave up after a two-hour standoff and 15 minutes of negotiations with police.

Police said Levy had permits for seven shotguns and rifles, including an Uzi submachine gun, that police found in his apartment.

Levy, who is being held without bail, is to be arraigned on the indictment in the trial-level state Supreme Court on Aug. 30. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of attempted murder.

Police said the incident stemmed from an old dispute between Rubin and Levy over who would head the Jewish Defense League. The JDO splintered off from the JDL in 1985.

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