Rubashkin: I should not have entered the family business

Former kosher meatpacking executive, awaiting sentencing by a federal judge, expressed regret for his actions

May 4, 2010 08:29
2 minute read.


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NEW YORK – With a federal judge expected to issue a sentence in his case later this month, former kosher meatpacking executive Sholom Rubashkin expressed regret for his actions – and entering the family business.

The two-day sentencing hearing in the financial fraud conviction of the ex-Agriprocessors official was held last week in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. US District Court Chief Judge Linda Reade reportedly indicated that she would issue her ruling May 27.

At least 10 witnesses spoke on Rubashkin’s behalf, including a psychiatrist who interviewed him in jail. The psychiatrist said Rubashkin expressed regret for the harm he had caused himself and others, the Des Moines Register reported. Several former business partners and family members also testified.

In his testimony, Rubashkin reportedly said he had made mistakes, and expressed remorse. He described himself as “a conflicted and flawed human being” – someone who was thrust into running the family business without adequate training or interest.

“Conflicted in that I allowed myself to be drafted into my family’s business against my wishes and better judgment,” Rubashkin said, according to The Associated Press. “I basically should have stayed in teaching and being an emissary” for the Lubavitch movement.

The Agriprocessors plant in the Iowa town of Postville was the site of a federal raid in May 2008. Federal prosecutors submitted a sentencing memorandum last month requesting life imprisonment based on their reading of federal sentencing guidelines. Rubashkin’s attorneys have requested that he be sentenced to no more than six years in prison.

Sentencing memos filed by prosecutors in the case accuse Rubashkin of bribing Postville Mayor Robert Penrod. Rubashkin was not charged with bribery, but the presiding judge can take such accusations into account when deciding on a sentence. Rubashkin’s attorneys told the Register that Agriprocessors had made a loan to Penrod under duress from the mayor.

Rubashkin supporters held prayer services on his behalf in cities around the world on April 27, the night before the start of the two-day hearing. They have described him as a kind, charitable father of 10 who may have committed crimes, but does not deserve a life sentence.

Earlier that day, six former US attorneys-general, in a letter to Reade, criticized prosecutors’ request that Rubashkin be sentenced to life in prison.

In the 2008 raid, federal immigration officers arrested hundreds of employees. The raid set the company on a slow slide toward bankruptcy. Prosecutors dropped immigration charges against Rubashkin last November, just days after a jury convicted him of financial fraud.

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