Iowa court rejects Sholom Rubashkin appeal

May 23, 2016  

Prosecutors have challenged an appeal filed by the attorneys of Sholom Rubashkin (56), the jailed Iowa kosher slaughterhouse executive sentenced to 27 years in prison for fraud and money laundering.

The hefty 110-page document outlines the prosecution’s case for upholding the unusually harsh sentence.

A month-and-a-half ago Rubashkin’s lawyers submitted the appeal asking to reopen the case, after they argued that new evidence was found placing doubt on the manner of his sentencing.

Rubashkin’s lawyers say federal prosecutors interfered illegally with the bankruptcy sale of Agriprocessors, Rubashkin’s kosher meat plant in Postville, Iowa, by ensuring that no members of the Rubashkin family were among the plant’s buyers. The company sold for $8.5 million despite its $35 million line of credit.

The 52-page appeal brings evidence to try and prove that there was collusion between the prosecution and the trustee appointed to Rubashkin’s factory by the court. Through this collusion they allegedly aimed to prove that Rubashkin caused irreversible damage, and thereby impose the particularly harsh sentence of 27 years on him.

Rubashkin, a Chabad hassid and father of ten, managed a massive kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa for many years and at his peak he employed nearly 2,000 workers.

Three years ago, nearly 700 of his workers were arrested in a police and FBI raid on the factory, over accusations that Rubashkin employed illegal foreign workers and minors.

Throughout the trial, Rubashkin’s lawyer argued that the judge had ulterior motives and that despite the hiding of evidence she decided to convict Rubashkin with the full sentence of 27 years, in addition to a $31 million fine.

Rubashkin was given backing in May, when 100 officials signed a letter of support for him.

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