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President Trump Commuted Shalom Rubashkin’s Jail Sentence

Last night, President Trump commuted Shalom Rubashkin’s 27 year jail sentence releasing him after serving 8 years in jail. Shalom was sentenced in 2009 for fraud and given 27 years incarceration and a $31 million fine. But now thanks to the graciousness of President Trump Shalom has now gone home to freedom. A letter from the White House announcing Shalom’s release stresses that Shalom was not pardoned and still has financial penalties to be paid.

The original fraud charge was handing inflated accounts to get a larger loan. This is something that should get far fewer years in jail than Justice Reade imposed on Shalom. The original investigation was for illegal immigrants in a staged full blown raid on Agriprocessors (Shalom’s kosher meat slaughter house) with hundreds of policemen and investigators. But then the investigators decided to go through his books and charge him on that instead.

The proceedings of this case were full of legal holes and the laws were bent in favor of finding Shalom guilty of something. Many congress members said the sentence was way beyond the norm for such a crime, especially since he was a first time offender. All told the investigators managed to dig up 86 counts of fraud. Justice Reade sentenced Shalom in June 2010 in the District Court of Iowa a day before the official reading of the verdict and rejected lawyers’ request for a court case.

Lawyers appealed in January 2011 to the Court of Appeals and were rejected. They again appealed in January 2014 in the Federal Court in New York. But here the grounds for the appeal were pretty solid. Justice Reade was a member of the investigating team, and was a lawyer in the prosecuting lawyer’s office. By law Justice Reade should have disqualified herself from judging the case due to conflict of interest. This conflict of interest harmed the due process of the law and also explains why the sentence was so uncharacteristically steep.

Over 100 government members including members of the Department of Justice, prosecutors and investigators claimed the punishment was disproportional. 30 congress members wrote to the Department of justice demanding a deep investigation into these improprieties. The Jewish community around the world made public rallies, also rallied to raise funds for Shalom’s legal battle and paid close attention to court proceedings.

Many Chabad Synagogues burst into song upon hearing news of Shalom’s release. Thousands were on hand to greet Shalom when he arrived at his home in Monsey, New York.

This is the text of the White House letter from the White House Website:

Today, President Donald J. Trump commuted the prison sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, an action encouraged by bipartisan leaders from across the political spectrum, from Nancy Pelosi to Orrin Hatch.

Mr. Rubashkin is a 57-year-old father of 10 children.  He previously ran the Iowa headquarters of a family business that was the country’s largest kosher meat-processing company.  In 2009, he was convicted of bank fraud and sentenced thereafter to 27 years in prison. Mr. Rubashkin has now served more than 8 years of that sentence, which many have called excessive in light of its disparity with sentences imposed for similar crimes.

This action is not a Presidential pardon.  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.

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.  A bipartisan group of more than 100 former high-ranking and distinguished Department of Justice (DOJ) officials, prosecutors, judges, and legal scholars have expressed concerns about the evidentiary proceedings in Mr. Rubashkin’s case and the severity of his sentence.  Additionally, more than 30 current Members of Congress have written letters expressing support for review of Mr. Rubashkin’s case.

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) 


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