Trump uses first pardon to free millionaire meat baron Sholom Rubashkin

23 December, 2017, 02:01 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Sholom Rubashkin 57 was sentenced to 27 years in prison for 86 counts of financial crimes as well as lying on the witness stand in 2009

Rubashkin ran what was the largest kosher meat-processing company in the U.S. Federal authorities raided the plant in 2008, and Rubashkin was found guilty of bank fraud.

The White House in a press release stated the action was "encouraged by bipartisan leaders from across the political spectrum, from Nancy Pelosi to Orrin Hatch".

Rubashkin won his freedom because of an impressive campaign dating back to 2012 after an appellate court chose to let a 27-year sentence stand on the first-time, non-violent offender.

Trump's review of Rubashkin's case and commutation were based on support from more than 100 DOJ officials, prosecutors, judges, and legal scholars who said his sentence was excessive, the White House said. Trump's commutation is not a pardon and does not vacate Rubashkin's conviction.

The presidential action is a commutation of the remaining prison sentence, not a pardon. The drop in value left Agriprocessors' bank with a $27 million loss- a figure used to calculate Rubashkin's sentence under federal guidelines.

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Many Jewish leaders rallied behind Rubashkin and believe his treatment was unduly harsh compared to other white-collar criminals, and possibly anti-Semitic.

Canadian billionaire Hershey Friedman, of Montreal, purchased the meatpacking plant in 2009 and rebranded it as Agri Star Meat and Poultry.

The government's war on his company harmed not only Rubashkin, but caused long-lasting damage to the economy of Agriprocessors' home town of Postville, Iowa.

Large crowds gathered in the Chabad enclave of Borough Park in Brooklyn on December 20 to welcome Rubashkin home.

Rubashkin was released Wednesday from the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York, his lawyer told the Des Moines Register.

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Law professor Alan Dershowitz, who called Rubashkin's sentence "excessively unjust", praised the decision, saying that Trump "did the right thing".

Last year, more than 100 former judges, attorneys general and prominent politicians signed a letter supporting Rubashkin, who was running the country's largest slaughterhouse at the time of his arrest. "It's sad when politics interferes with the justice system".

Rubashkin's attorneys a year ago accused prosecutors of improperly interfering with the sale of Agriprocessors and depressing its sale price by millions.

One of those prosecutors, former assistant US attorney in Iowa Robert Teig, told the Des Moines Register that Rubashkin "couldn't win legally, factually or morally, so he had to win politically".

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