President Trump on Wednesday commuted the jail sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, whose Iowa meatpacking plant was the goal of an enormous immigration raid in 2008, and whose 27-year jail sentence angered many Orthodox Jews.
Mr. Rubashkin made nationwide headlines 9 years in the past after federal brokers arrived by helicopter on the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, Iowa, and detained practically 400 undocumented immigrants, together with a number of kids, who had been working there. Mr. Rubashkin was the corporate’s chief government, and the plant had been the biggest kosher meatpacking operation within the nation. He was later convicted of financial institution fraud in federal courtroom.
Many Jewish leaders have rallied behind Mr. Rubashkin, whose therapy they mentioned was unfair, even perhaps anti-Semitic, and whose sentence they thought of unduly harsh and out of line with what different white-collar criminals acquired. Mr. Rubashkin had tried for years to get a decreased sentence, however was repeatedly turned down by the courts.
“Rubashkin has remained sturdy all through his ordeal and satisfied he would finally acquire justice,” mentioned Man R. Cook dinner, the lead trial lawyer for Mr. Rubashkin, in an electronic mail on Wednesday evening. “Rubashkin and his household are overjoyed he’s free and will probably be reunited with them.”
In an announcement saying the commutation, White Home officers mentioned that they had acquired letters from greater than 30 members of Congress, together with a number of members of each events, supporting an examination of the case.
“The president’s evaluate of Mr. Rubashkin’s case and commutation choice had been primarily based on expressions of help from members of Congress and a broad cross-section of the authorized neighborhood,” the White Home assertion mentioned.
Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, mentioned on Twitter that the commutation was “an actual Hanukkah miracle” and that he was “proud to be part of a big, bipartisan group” that had pushed for that end result.
Mr. Trump’s choice was not a pardon, and Mr. Rubashkin, who had been imprisoned in Otisville, N.Y., should nonetheless pay restitution and full a time period of supervised launch. The commutation got here after years of lobbying by numerous outstanding legal professionals and politicians who thought of the sentence a miscarriage of justice.
Alan M. Dershowitz, an emeritus legislation professor at Harvard and a famous creator, mentioned he had been engaged on the case for about 5 years and had personally requested Mr. Trump to think about commutation. Mr. Dershowitz mentioned he had made an analogous request to Barack Obama throughout his presidency, however that he had declined.
“It was simply compassion and justice,” Mr. Dershowitz mentioned. “This was a bipartisan factor. It was a nonpartisan factor. And it was the correct factor to do.”
However the commutation was not universally cheered. Robert Teig, a former federal prosecutor in Iowa, mentioned that Mr. Rubashkin’s sentence “was what he earned due to his conduct” and that “it’s a tragic state when politics are allowed to intrude with the justice system.”
“Actually, that is 180 levels opposite to a troublesome place on unlawful immigration,” mentioned Mr. Teig, who mentioned Mr. Rubashkin had in all probability been Iowa’s largest employer of undocumented immigrants.
The high-profile immigration raid finally led to the closure of the meatpacking plant in tiny Postville, which had turn into an unlikely hub of Orthodox Jewish life within the Midwest.
Round 300 workers of the plant, a lot of whom had been Guatemalan, served jail sentences for id theft, and several other managers and supervisors had been convicted of felony expenses of harboring unlawful immigrants. The immigration-related expenses in opposition to Mr. Rubashkin had been dropped after he was convicted of fraud. Prosecutors in his case mentioned he had fabricated collateral for loans, inflicting the banks to lose greater than $26 million.