Injustice, Persecution, and an Anti-Business Vendetta on a Federal Level


rubashkinBy Yossi Gestetner

Some people in the US remember the raid by federal agents that took place in May of 2008 on the Agriprocessors meat plant in Iowa, but few know the gross injustice and persecution that went on from day one, and didn’t end as of today.The raid took place due to two sins of Agriprocessors: 1) Almost 400 of the plant’s 700 non-unionized employees were allegedly illegal in America. Although a lot of them pleaded later guilty, chargers of wrong-doing on the part of the Agri bosses were later dropped because there was no proof that the firm hired the workers knowing that they were here illegal. In fact, a federal agent who tried getting a job there while providing visibly fraudulent papers was turned down twice. Only when that agent returned with the real thing, he was accepted to work there. In addition, Agriprocessors paid Payroll tax on all employees working there. – Which I doubt the government will return to the firm since they learned that alot workers were illegal. In other words: The federal government is having the cake and eating it at the same time. Just like that.

The firm was levied heavy fines for failing to pay workers and file other paperwork for a six-week period AFTER the federal raid took place, which essentially crippled the firm to its bone. The Feds also made noise of 32 underage people working at the plants – you know, a thing that never happens in America, i.e. underage people working to earn some pocket money. Despite dropping the immigration chargers, Prosecutors used immigration issues to the Jury to paint in a dark light a top defended for the second sin:

The second crime was that Sholom Rubashkin, a Vice President at the plant, committed bank fraud, by inflating the firm’s receivables to get a larger line of credit from a local bank. The bank earned millions in interests during the life of the line of credit. However after the Feds seized the assets of Agriprocessors and forced the firm into bankruptcy, the bank lost $26 million of unpaid debt, which federal Prosecutors conveniently use as a “$26 million Bank Fraud” talking point to chastise Rubashkin and to have him sit behind bars for a life sentence.

A main player in this case from the get-go was Stephanie Rose who was during the May 2008 raid a lead assistant in the US Attorney’s Northern Iowa office. In 2009, Senator Tom Harkin (D, Iowa) recommended to President Obama that Rose be nominated as US attorney. Her nomination was criticized by some on the Left as a result of her harsh treatment of immigrants during the raid. Regardless, she won Senate confirmation to be U.S. Attorney.

At any rate, prosecutors requested a very high bail for Rubashkin, and then for a while didn’t want bail altogether, claiming that since he is a Jew, he is a flight risk to Israel. The Feds dramatized that $20,000 (or whatever big amount of) cash was found in the safe next to his family’s passports. Of course, nor prosecutors nor Judge Linda Reade (Nominated by GWB in 2002), reckoned with the fact that for a wealthy businessman, $20,000 in a safe is like $250 for a regular person, and in no way was it a plan to escape. Besides, seizing Rubashkin’s passport and placing an ankle-bracelet on him could have eliminated the flight risk. But this didn’t – for a while – calm the Judge and Prosecutor.

After being behind bars well before the court date, and after being found guilty five months ago on 86 counts of bank fraud chargers, the Judge ordered Rubashkin (currently represented by Nat Lewin) to stay behind bars until sentencing, which is dated for April 28, 2010. Worse, due to being hit repeatedly by a cell-mate in the Linn County Correctional Facility, the judge ordered Rubashkin into solitary confinement “for his own protection.” For weeks now, he is held there for 23-plus hours a day, without getting a hair-cut or any warm meal in the last few months! But of course, releasing him to his home and family “for his own protection” until sentencing date is not an option…

According to those involved in the case, some of the overzealousness and injustice of the prosecutor and Judge, also include the following:

•The Feds carried out the headline-grabbing, yet destructive raid, which destroyed 1) the Business; 2) the local economy; 3) and the bank that lost money, despite the fact that Robert W. Kent, Esq., of Baker & McKenzie, offered the U.S. Attorney’s office to work this out peacefully, as prosecutors often do before indictments rain down on someone.
•The counts against Rubashkin were multiplied to make him come across as a mean-spirited, self-serving crook. Prosecutors went so far as charging him with a law of the Stockyards Act of 1921 that no other meatpacker in recent history was charged with it.
•Despite the fact that defendants in similar cases in recent years were not even charged, such as Swift & Co; were given probation, such as Mubarik Kahlon of Action Rags, and Mr. Zhu of Miyako Sushi; or received a prison term of one year, such as Francesco Insolia of Michael Bianco, prosecutors here are recommending a life sentence for Rubashkin. Such a sentence is more than the 120-month sentence of Richard M. Rosenbaum of Rosenbaum-Cunningham International, a most serious offender who in-addition was also charged with defrauding the United States of more than $18 million in employment taxes and whose janitorial employees in 17 states were illegal aliens paid in cash.
The list goes on and on, including using wobbling witness to convict Rubashkin, and relying on writings from racist groups to propel negativity against Rubashkin. All in all, it does not make sense that a large employer was driven out of business in an area which was essentially dead before the business expanded, all for doing a thing which most Americans do: inflate income to gain access to Credit for a business, money which Agriprocessors always paid up, until the Feds destroyed the business. While no one is saying that such a thing is Kosher, everyone can agree that serving a year or two in prison, and/or some money penalty with a short House arrest, makes more sense than the court route taken by a country that has The Best Justice System in the World.

More than 26,000 concerned citizens have already signed the petition that will be sent to the prosecutor asking her to reconsider her position on the sentencing. It is hopeful that the Press, Media, pro-Business Groups; Civil-Rights organizations, Immigration Advocates, Congressional Judiciary Committees will all review this case in more detail, and demand that the Prosecutor and Judge be held accountable for their demeanor in all of this. Such unchecked abuse of judicial power is destructive to America’s values, businesses and people.

{Yossi Gestetner/ Newscenter}


  1. May HKBH help this good man. Keep davening, keep calling, keep writing. We should not give up. This is a real injustice, and we have to let them know we know it is.

  2. Read Mendel Bailis Story. This is a repeat. No body is immune to this type of treatment EVEN in The U.S.Of A. Boy do we need Moshiach!!!