Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Are Chances Rising for Rubashkin Pardon?

Eytan Kobre

Could the end of President Obama’s presidency mean an Agriprocessors pardon?

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

shiur

GUILTY UNTIL? Rubashkin advocates, including Renfrew and Reynolds, say prosecutors’ meddling helped to vastly reduce the eventual sale price for Agriprocessors, and consequently, the amount available to Rubashkin for reimbursement of the bank he was convicted of defrauding (Photos: AP)

A s his term concludes in January, pressure builds on President Obama to pardon Sholom Rubashkin, the former kosher meat-industry executive in Postville, Iowa, who has served seven years of a draconian 27-year sentence following a bank fraud conviction.

The Orthodox Jewish community has long worked to secure the release of the 57-year-old father of ten from a sentence that most legal scholars view as grossly incommensurate with his crime. The efforts on his behalf have not, however, been limited to the Orthodox community.

Last week, Charles Renfrew, a former federal judge and US deputy attorney-general, and James Reynolds, a former US attorney in Iowa, jointly authored an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal urging Obama to pardon Rubashkin. Renfrew and Reynolds briefly outlined the evidence newly discovered by Rubashkin’s defense team showing that the prosecutors in the case had improperly interfered in the sale of Agriprocessors, the Rubashkin family’s meat production company.

In a telephone interview with Mishpacha, Reynolds said that he is aware of efforts underway to prepare a pardon request for presentation to the presidential pardon office, although he is not involved in that process. A separate motion has already been made in the US District Court in Iowa for a reduction of Rubashkin’s sentence based on the new revelations of prosecutorial misconduct. Rubashkin advocates, including Renfrew and Reynolds, say prosecutors’ meddling helped to vastly reduce the eventual sale price for Agriprocessors, and consequently, the amount available to Rubashkin for reimbursement of the bank he was convicted of defrauding.

The Rubashkin defense team alleges the prosecutors then solicited false testimony to conceal their interference in the sale of the company. Since federal sentencing guidelines link the length of a prison sentence for bank fraud to the extent of the bank’s loss (and since the bank’s loss grew with the low sale price of Agriprocessors), the prosecutors’ actions effectively helped extend the sentence handed down to Rubashkin to a staggering 27 years.

 

Reflecting on what motivated him to co-author the opinion piece in the Journal, Reynolds said it was the fact that the unjust sentence was meted out in the office in which he had once served as US Attorney.

“I can’t understand what precipitated the disproportionate treatment Mr. Rubashkin received,” Reynolds said. “There are cases you think will go nowhere and end up as a cause célèbre, and others, like this one, that ought to be a cause célèbre, yet nobody pays any attention to them.” This past April, a bipartisan group of leading law enforcement officials and legal scholars wrote to the US Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, Kevin Techau, asking him to reopen the case based on “evidence that prosecutors in your office knowingly presented false and misleading testimony at the sentencing hearing.” To date, Techau has not responded.

The power to grant pardons is vested in the president alone. No hearing is held on the pardon application by either the Department of Justice or the White House. A petitioner is notified in writing when a final decision is made.

Related Stories

Pro-Palestinian Groups Funding Kosel Agitators

Sara Pardes

International Network of Anti-Israel NGOs Backs Women of the Wall

A Right-Wing Nationalist Zionist in Britain?

James Marlow, London

Despite admiration for Israel, Tommy Robinson puts British Jewry on edge

Italy’s Bad Imitation of Trump

Binyamin Rose

In Austria, Jews Praise Defeat of Far-Rightist

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
Weekly Struggle
Shoshana Friedman Cover text: promise big and deliver what we promise
Only Through You
Rabbi Moshe Grylak A response to last week’s letter, “Waiting in Passaic”
Are You Making a Kiddush Hashem?
Yonoson Rosenblum In communal affairs, “one bad apple…” often applies
Chance of a Lifetime
Eytan Kobre I identify with the urge to shout, “No, don’t do it!”
Work / Life Solutions with Bunim Laskin
Moe Mernick "You only get every day once"
Seeking a Truly Meaningful Blessing
Dovid Zaidman We want to get married. Help us want to date
Shivah Meditations
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Equivalence between two such polar opposites is puzzling
Magnet Moment
Jacob L. Freedman Everyone’s fighting a battle we know nothing about
Secrets and Surprises
Riki Goldstein Top-secret suits Eli Gerstner just fine
Blasts of Warmth
Riki Goldstein Keeping the chuppah music upbeat in low temperatures
Behind the Scenes
Faigy Peritzman The intrinsic value of each mitzvah
Good Vision
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Good or bad, nice or not? What you see is what you get
Day of Peace
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz On Shabbos we celebrate peace within and without