STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Trump commutes sentence of Iowa kosher meatpacking executive

The action was "encouraged by bipartisan leaders from across the political spectrum, from Nancy Pelosi to Orrin Hatch," the White House said.

Posted: Dec 21, 2017 6:54 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Wednesday commuted the sentence of an Iowa kosher meatpacking executive who had been sentenced to 27 years in prison for money laundering, marking the first time he's used the presidential power.

The decision to intervene on behalf of Sholom Rubashkin, who ran the Iowa headquarters of a family business that was the country's largest kosher meat-processing company, came at the urging of numerous members of Congress and a long list of high-ranking law enforcement officials, who argued the sentence was far too harsh for a first-time, nonviolent offender.

The action was "encouraged by bipartisan leaders from across the political spectrum, from Nancy Pelosi to Orrin Hatch," the White House said.

Rubashki was convicted in 2009 for submitting fake invoices to a bank that made Agriprocessors' finances appear healthier than they were so that it could borrow more. His prosecution came after federal authorities raided the plant and arrested 389 illegal immigrants in 2008.

The 57-year-old father of 10 has served more than eight years of his sentence, according to the White House, which stressed the action is not a presidential pardon and does not vacate Rubashkin's conviction.

Trump has used his pardon power just once so far: to spare former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio the prospect of serving jail time by wiping away a federal conviction stemming from immigration patrols that focused on Latinos.

Rubashkin's long-time attorney Guy Cook praised Trump's decision, saying Rubashkin "has finally received justice."

"The sentence previously imposed was unfair, unjust and essential a life sentence," he said via email. "President Trump has done what is right and just. The unrelenting efforts on Rubashkin's behalf have finally paid off."

Rubashkin's attorneys last year accused prosecutors of improperly interfering with the sale of Agriprocessors and depressing its sale price by millions. The drop in value left Agriprocessors' bank with a $27 million loss — a figure used to calculate Rubashkin's sentence under federal guidelines. The U.S. attorney's office denied the allegations.

The White House said the president's decision to review Rubashkin's sentence was driven by concerns raised by a bipartisan group of more than 100 former high-ranking law enforcement and Justice Department officials, including multiple former attorneys general, as well as prosecutors, judges, and legal scholars.

"Mr. Rubashkin is a devoted husband and father, a deeply religious man who simply doesn't deserve a sentence of this length, or anything remotely close to it," they wrote in a letter that urged Trump to use his "executive clemency power to commute the patently unjust and draconian 27-year sentence imposed upon Sholom Rubashkin_a first time, non-violent offender and father of 10, including an acutely autistic child."

More than 30 current members of Congress also submitted letters to the White House supporting a review of Rubashkin's case.

But former prosecutor Bob Teig, who retired in 2011 after serving as a prosecutor and spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office for the Northern District of Iowa, said Trump's decision to commute Rubashkin's sentence "makes no sense" given Trump's repeated promises to get tougher on illegal immigration.

Teig said that every court that looked at Rubashkin's sentence had concluded it was fair, and suggested that former Justice Department officials and lawmakers who supported leniency were unaware of the facts of the case.

"The outrage is backwards," he said.

___

Associated Press writers Ryan J. Foley in Iowa City, Iowa, and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 694320

Reported Deaths: 8142
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1423771859
Ramsey59270950
Dakota52926503
Anoka48822485
Washington31123312
Stearns25308241
St. Louis20783337
Scott19966146
Wright18874163
Olmsted16191112
Sherburne13779105
Carver1232552
Clay930196
Rice9242125
Blue Earth885747
Crow Wing8008102
Kandiyohi751491
Chisago729258
Otter Tail684095
Benton6616102
Mower573938
Winona562752
Goodhue558981
Douglas546484
Itasca529272
Beltrami527572
Steele516521
McLeod516164
Isanti499070
Morrison475763
Nobles454850
Becker449960
Polk442175
Freeborn436040
Lyon401054
Carlton396960
Nicollet386448
Pine381626
Mille Lacs361860
Brown355244
Cass352636
Le Sueur346530
Todd330334
Meeker312649
Waseca295725
Martin270533
Wabasha24874
Dodge24755
Hubbard240441
Roseau237424
Houston209816
Redwood205142
Renville203148
Fillmore202210
Pennington194922
Wadena190527
Faribault183725
Sibley179610
Cottonwood178824
Chippewa173139
Kanabec167329
Aitkin158038
Watonwan156811
Rock142419
Jackson135812
Pope13418
Yellow Medicine127720
Pipestone125826
Koochiching123719
Swift118719
Murray117210
Stevens113711
Clearwater107118
Marshall106719
Lake93221
Wilkin90714
Lac qui Parle89224
Mahnomen7239
Big Stone7034
Grant6918
Norman6749
Lincoln6694
Kittson53922
Unassigned51193
Red Lake5017
Traverse4345
Lake of the Woods4194
Cook2150

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 439050

Reported Deaths: 6420
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk69441683
Linn26618363
Scott23312265
Black Hawk19397338
Woodbury17483233
Johnson1698692
Dubuque14775221
Pottawattamie13369186
Dallas13048102
Story1211448
Warren707893
Webster6479103
Cerro Gordo6370105
Clinton635898
Des Moines618084
Muscatine5985109
Marshall586981
Sioux547676
Jasper532076
Lee529084
Wapello5230128
Buena Vista479442
Marion464086
Plymouth442185
Henry351341
Jones341159
Bremer331365
Washington330454
Crawford326844
Carroll326553
Benton325756
Boone318636
Mahaska282754
Dickinson276547
Kossuth257471
Clay255629
Jackson253844
Tama246073
Hardin244547
Buchanan244238
Delaware240143
Cedar228025
Fayette227945
Page225724
Wright221741
Winneshiek219237
Hamilton216752
Harrison205476
Madison199920
Clayton199758
Floyd195742
Butler191936
Poweshiek188837
Mills188225
Iowa185927
Cherokee184740
Allamakee181152
Jefferson178238
Lyon178041
Calhoun172213
Hancock170336
Winnebago170131
Cass164356
Louisa161651
Grundy161335
Appanoose158149
Shelby156539
Emmet153241
Franklin152224
Humboldt151626
Union149937
Sac147922
Mitchell146143
Guthrie142132
Chickasaw141618
Palo Alto134527
Clarke130226
Montgomery127940
Keokuk121332
Monroe118733
Howard118422
Ida109838
Davis105025
Greene103012
Pocahontas102623
Monona99034
Lucas98523
Adair97734
Worth9558
Osceola84717
Decatur76710
Fremont76511
Van Buren75221
Taylor73412
Wayne66323
Ringgold63027
Audubon60114
Unassigned5300
Adams4254
Rochester
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 54°
Mason City
Partly Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 56°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 59°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 55°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 57°
Warmup ahead of workweek
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events