A Brooklyn-born rabbi who was sentenced to 27-years on bank fraud charges in 2009 had his sentence commuted by President Donald Trump on Wednesday.
Sholom Rubashkin, 57, had already served seven years for an offense that ordinarily merits no more than three years behind bars.
Rubashkin was the vice president of Agriprocessors, a kosher meatpacking plant based in Postville, Iowa, when a veritable army of federal immigration agents conducted a raid, arresting hundreds of illegal workers in 2008.
The raid caused the company to declare bankruptcy. Rubashkin was arrested a short time later and charged with bank fraud.
Since then, an impressive list of politicians and law enforcement officials, including GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and former FBI Director Louis Freeh, have been calling for Rubashkin to be released. They say he was the victim of an improper prosecution and corrupted testimony.
“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. “A bipartisan group of more than 100 former high-ranking and distinguished Department of Justice officials, prosecutors, judges, and legal scholars have expressed concerns about the evidentiary proceedings in Mr. Rubashkin’s case and the severity of his sentence.”
The White House emphasized that Trump was not pardoning Rubashkin, who has appealed his conviction, but only commuting his long sentence.
Democratic New York City Reps. Jerry Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Yvette Clarke, Nydia Velasquez and upstate GOP Rep. Tom Reed all supported Trump’s decision to commute Rushashkin’s sentence.
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