WASHINGTON (Sep. 27)
The conviction of Dr. William R. Perl, the founder of the Jewish Defense League branch in the Washington area, for illegal receipt of a rifle and attempt to damage property used by two Soviet officials was upheld Monday by the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va.
But the court ordered a new trial on his conviction for conspiracy. All the charges against the 72-year-old retired psychology professor stemmed from a plot May 23, 1976 to shoot out the apartment windows of two Soviet officials living in Prince George’s County, Md., a suburb of Washington.
The shots were never fired because Reuven Lev-Tov, a former chauffeur for the Israeli Embassy who is now a U.S. citizen, used blank cartridges supplied by the FBI. The Appeals Court rejected Perl’s claim that he had been entrapped into committing the crime by Lev-Tov and the FBI. But it overturned the conspiracy charge because U.S. District Court Judge Edward S. Northrop of Baltimore failed to fully correct an erroneous instruction telling the jury it could consider Perl’s dealings with Lev-Tov as well as with other unidentified persons.
Perl, a Holocaust survivor, was involved in the incident as a protest to Soviet treatment of Jews who want to emigrate to Israel.