Lawyers for Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin have appealed a judge’s decision denying their bid for a new trial. In a brief filed Monday with the U.S. Court of Appeals in St. Louis, Mo., lawyers for Sholom Mordechai made four arguments on his behalf, chief among them that the presiding judge in his case, Linda Reade, should have recused herself. Reade had rejected that argument in October.
According to the brief, government documents that surfaced after Sholom Mordechai’s conviction and not made available to the defense showed that Reade was involved in the planning for a major federal immigration raid of the Postville plant in May 2008. Reade’s “excessive coziness” with prosecutors planning the raid raised doubts about her impartiality in the case, the brief says, and as a result Rubashkin is entitled to a new trial or, at a minimum, an evidentiary hearing.
The 2008 raid at the time was the largest immigration enforcement action in American history and led to a string of accusations. The bulk of those charges subsequently were dismissed.
The trial and sentence have been widely criticized by legal scholars for the zealousness with which federal prosecutors pursued the case.