President Donald Trump commuted the sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, the chief executive of what was then the largest kosher slaughterhouse in the country, who was convicted of bank fraud and money laundering charges.
Trump cited appeals from across the political spectrum in making the move.
“In 2009, he was convicted of bank fraud and sentenced thereafter to 27 years in prison,” a statement Wednesday by the White House said. “Mr. Rubashkin has now served more than eight years of that sentence, which many have called excessive in light of its disparity with sentences imposed for similar crimes.”
The statement described the commutation as an “an action encouraged by bipartisan leaders from across the political spectrum, from Nancy Pelosi to Orrin Hatch,” referring to the Democratic leader in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Republican senator from Utah, respectively.
Attached to the statement was a long list of lawmakers from both parties who backed Rubashkin’s release as well as former top-ranking Justice Department officials, also from both parties.
“This action is not a Presidential pardon,” the statement said. “It does not vacate Mr. Rubashkin’s conviction, and it leaves in place a term of supervised release and a substantial restitution obligation, which were also part of Mr. Rubashkin’s sentence.”
A massive federal immigration raid in 2008 at the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, led to the arrest of nearly 400 undocumented Guatemalans and Mexican workers. Rubashkin was charged a year later on the bank fraud and money laundering charges as he tried to sell the company, which was on the verge of bankruptcy.
Advocates for Rubashkin, among them prominent legal and political figures, later offered evidence that they said showed prosecutors tampered inappropriately with the case. They provided affidavits showing prosecutors scared off potential buyers by saying they would seize the company if a Rubashkin family member was involved in the purchase.
As the company’s value plummeted, Rubashkin masked its poor financial health, leading to the criminal charges, according to this argument.
Rubashkin, a member of the Chabad Lubavitch movement, is 57. He has 10 children, which Trump noted in his commutation.
Billionaire Hershey Friedman of Montreal purchased the meatpacking plant in 2009 and rebranded it as Agri Star Meat and Poultry. (JTA) v
Former High-Ranking DOJ Officials Who Have Expressed Support For Review Of Mr. Rubashkin’s Case
Attorney General Bill Barr
Attorney General Edwin Meese III
Attorney General Michael Mukasey
Solicitor General Seth Waxman
FBI Director Louis Freeh
Current Members of Congress Who Have Expressed Support For Review of Mr. Rubashkin’s Case
Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)
Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS)
Representative Yvette Clarke (D-NY)
Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO)
Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY)
Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
Representative Steve King (R-IA)
Representative Jerry Nadler (D-NY)
Representative Richard Neal (D-MA)
Representative Tom McClintock (R-CA)
Representative Tom Marino (R-PA)
Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
Representative Bill Pascrell (D-NJ)
Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
Representative Ted Poe (R-TX)
Representative Jared Polis (D-CO)
Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL)
Representative Tom Reed (R-NY)
Representative Tom Rooney (R-FL)
Representative John Sarbanes (D-MD)
Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)
Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA)
Representative Albio Sires (D-NJ)
Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ)
Representative Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)
Nes Gadol Hayah Sham:
A Timely Analysis
By 5TJT Staff
As Zos Chanukah, the final day of Chanukah, came to a close, the Jewish community received some unexpected, even miraculous, news. Sholom Rubashkin sat in prison for exactly eight years and eight days for his convictions before President Donald Trump commuted the sentence, which relates to the eight days of Chanukah and its supernatural energy. According to Jewish mysticism, seven is the number of this world—seven days of the week. But eight is a number above this world.
The timing of the announcement on 2 Teves is significant for Chabad chassidim. It happened between when the Alter Rebbe and the Mitteler Rebbe of Lubavitch were freed from their jail sentences on 9 Kislev and 19 Kislev, and the 5th day of Teves, on which Lubavitch Chassidim celebrate the return of sefarim from the Freidiker Rebbe’s library to the Chassidim.
It would seem President Donald Trump has a special connection to the Jewish community, as the first U.S. President to have a Jewish daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren, as well as several Orthodox key members in the Cabinet. His recent declaration moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv shook the world as it reinforced the special connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem. The commuted sentence for Sholom Rubashkin builds on the special relationship and had many Jewish communities around the world dancing in study halls, synagogues, homes, and streets.