Trump Commutes Kosher Meat Processing Plant Operator's 27-Year Bank Fraud Sentence

Trump Commutes Kosher Meat Processing Plant Operator's 27-Year Bank Fraud Sentence

Sholom Rubashkin, a member of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement who was sentenced in 2009 to 27 years in prison after being convicted of fraud and money laundering, is now free.

The commutation came after Mr. Rubashkin, the former manager of Agriprocessors, which was once the country's largest kosher meat-processing company, spent more than eight years in prison.

Trump's commutation of the sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, 57, marks his first commutation and the second use of his clemency powers since taking office, including his controversial pardon earlier this year of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

When federal authorities raided the plant, 389 illegal immigrants were arrested.

The president's action, which is not a presidential pardon, was encouraged by bipartisan leaders. Rubashkin will now be in a term of supervised release and have to pay restitution. Soon after his arrest, a campaign for his release was started by Orthodox Jewish groups and eventually led to support from others including more than 100 former judges, attorneys general and prominent politicians.

"The President's review of Mr. Rubashkin's case and commutation decision were based on expressions of support from Members of Congress and a broad cross-section of the legal community", the White House said in a statement. They claimed Rubashkin's 27-year sentence-for fraud offenses for inflating collateral to obtain a higher line of credit and being 11 days late in paying for some cattle- was "far longer than the median sentences for murder, kidnapping, sexual abuse, child pornography..."

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Aron Schimmel, the Chabad emissary in Postville, says the Iowa town's Jewish community shrunk significantly after the Rubashkin scandal.

Robert Teig, who served as a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Iowa, said that Rubashkin's sentence "was what he earned because of his conduct".

"The sentence previously imposed was unfair, unjust and essential a life sentence", he told news organizations.

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

Court filings indicate Rubashkin tried to appeal the judgment against him as recently as this year, and a federal appeals court declined to hear the case just last week.

Prosecutors argued in response that it was Rubashkin's criminal conduct that drove down the sale price of the company, not interference by prosecutors. "She actually had 'a weekly operations/planning meeting" with federal agents and the USA attorney.

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