As the Rubashkin tiral continues in South Dakota, many government witnesses have recalled Reb Shalom Mordechai Rubashkin as a generous, well-intentioned man.
Reb Shalom Mordechai lent employees money and helped workers’ relatives find jobs, one witness testified. Another remembered when Reb Shalom Mordechai threw a company party and invited even the lowest assembly-line workers and water-skied on the Mississippi River.
Today was the eighth day of Rubashkin’s trial in Sioux Falls.
On Thursday, both sides showed signs of fatigue. Defense lawyer Guy Cook nursed an energy drink and fought the sniffles. Matt Cole, one of the three U.S. attorneys assigned to the case, had just returned from a sick day. Lawyers traded objections, and the back-and-forth seemed testy at times.
“It’s been a long week,” said U.S. District Chief Judge Linda Reade. “Everyone go home and rest up.”
Reb Shalom Mordechai watched, expressionless, as witness after witness took the stand. At times he jotted notes on a white legal pad and spoke to his attorneys. At one point, Bensasson testified about his earlier statements to a federal grand jury.
“You told the grand jury that one mistake Sholom made was, he was too good,” Cook said.
“That’s the thing about the Rubashkins,” Bensasson replied. “They don’t realize that, when you’re too good, you get stepped on.”
Currently, the prosecution is presenting its case. When that concludes, the defense will get its chance to present the truth.