Over 500 men from all sectors of the Melbourne Jewish community came together in a show of support for Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin at a gathering held at the Adass-Gutnick Hall last Wednesday, 13 Sivan/June 15.
An appeal for Rubashkin was argued before three judges of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Yesterday in the Thomas Eagleton U.S. Federal courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri.
A letter to Attorney General Eric Holder by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) this week pressed Holder on the Rubashkin case after close to 40 Congressional appeals to open an investigation into allegations of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct have gone unheeded.
Rep. Poe’s letter asks Holder if the Department of Justice has done anything about launching an investigating into the allegations of improper communications between Chief Judge Linda Reade and government authorities who prosecuted Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin.
The letter is the second one the congressman has written urging a review of the case. In November, Rep. Poe, who sits on the Judiciary Committee and is a former prosecutor and judge, called Holder’s attention to “serious allegations of misconduct by the Judge and U.S. Attorneys in this case."
In a sign that the Rubashkin case continues to roil the highest ranks of the nation’s legal community, six amicus briefs from prestigious legal organizations and renowned legal authorities have called on the Supreme Court to grant the Rubashkin case a hearing.
The briefs are from former Solicitor General Seth Waxman, joined by 86 former DOJ officials and federal judges; the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; The Washington Legal Foundation; The Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers; a group of 40 legal ethics professors; and the Justice Fellowship.
With thousands of Americans out of work, the mood in the country is increasingly hostile toward illegal immigrants, who many say are taking jobs that Americans need.
Urged on by these sentiments, Republican legislators are pushing a controversial new law that critics say threatens farmers - and American freedoms.
The bill, about to be taken up by the House, would require employers to confirm the legal status of every applicant, using an electronic system known as E-Verify, with the aim of rooting out undocumented aliens.
The American public is finally awakening to the shocking implications of Operation Fast and Furious, and demanding accountability for a gun-walking scheme so wanton and reckless, it defies belief.
The covert operation, run under the auspices of ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms), an agency responsible to the Department of Justice, encouraged gun dealers in the Southwest to sell firearms to middlemen, who then smuggled the weapons across the U.S.- Mexican border.
The idea was to track the approximately 2000 high-powered guns to the heads of Mexican drug cartels, who would then be nabbed by authorities. But the surveillance and tracking part of the plan never got off the ground.
The smuggled guns were soon in the hands of Mexican gangsters and have been turning up next to dead bodies. 1400 guns are still unaccounted for.
The government’s attempt to silence the voices of friends-of-the-court [amicus curiae] in the Rubashkin case undermines the American justice system, argues an influential publication, Bloomberg Law Reports.
The authors sound the alarm about an unprecedented move by federal prosecutors in Iowa that should concern all Americans.
In their scathing report, “The Troubling Implications of the Government's Recent Effort to Block Amicus Curiae Briefs,” the authors criticize the government for trying to block three prominent legal organizations that argued powerfully in separate briefs for Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin’s right to a new trial.
With their professional reputations at stake in this high-profile case, federal prosecutors have spared no effort to twist the facts and recycle old lies and innuendo in their attempt to undermine the appeal filed by Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin.
The government’s response leans heavily on mudslinging in the form of fabricated “obstruction of justice” charges that have previously been discredited by the defense. The character assault against Sholom Mordechai fills many pages in this government document, describing a lineup of “crimes” that were first devised by prosecutors in the 2009 bank fraud trial.
The obstruction of justice charges in many cases lack even the pretense of evidence. Yet, they are cloaked as “facts on record” that paint the defendant as a chronic lawbreaker with “utter disregard” for the law.
As Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin’s trial over child-labor charges enters its third week, the spectacle of Mexican and Guatemalan immigrants stammering fictitious stories before a jury continues to evoke astonishment that such a charade could pass for legitimate proceedings in an American court of law.
Taken together, their sad and ludicrous testimonies paint a picture of people so desperate to work in the United States that lying about their age and legal status to employers is a way of life. On the witness stand, the lies and contradictions in their testimony continually trip them up, making it all but impossible to take the proceedings seriously.
“We’re watching a comedy,” said Meir Simcha Rubashkin, son of Sholom Mordechai. In court, almost every day, he says, the testimonies of the Guatemalan witnesses whom the government has paid tens of thousands of dollars to bring to the Unites States quickly fall apart under cross-examination.
The U.S. government has done an about-face after initially attempted to silence the voices of friends-of-the-court - amicus curiae - in the Rubashkin case. The unprecedented move by federal prosecutors in Iowa to block three prominent legal organizations that argued powerfully in separate briefs for Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin’s right to a new trial was roundly criticized. This week, the government changed its tune, granting permission for briefs by the ACLU and the Washington-based NACDL and WLF to be submitted to the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals.
Among other contentions, the briefs accuse the Iowa U.S. Attorney’s office and Chief Judge Linda Reade of engaging in months of improper ex parte discussions.
The scandal over the flawed Fast and Furious operation shows no signs of abetting as indicated at a Congressional hearing last week. The entire operation of Obama’s Justice Departemnt has been called into question as it has become evident that the people charged to provide and protect justice in the United States can not be trusted to perform their duties in an honest and forthright manner.
During last week’s hearing Republican lawmakers told Attorney General Eric Holder to fire Justice Department subordinates over the mistakes madeduring the botched arms-trafficking investigation or face the possibility of impeachment. Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, a former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, suggested during a heated meeting of the committee that impeachment may be the only way to bring the scandal to a close if Holder and the Justice Department continue to withhold information from congressional investigators.
The attorney general, who was the sole witness at last week’s hearing, admitted that it was inexcusable for the Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to use a tactic known as “gun-walking” in its effort to identify and prosecute major arms trafficking networks along the Southwest border. Justice Department policy has long prohibited the tactic.
A hard-hitting article in the prestigious National Law Journal calls the Rubashkin case “tragic and frightening,” citing chilling details of federal prosecution and trial, and saying the FOIA laws [Freedom of Information Act] failed him.
FOIA laws were meant to ensure open government and the transparency of the criminal justice system. Had the government complied with Rubashkin’s requests for crucial documents in time for his trial, revelations of misconduct on the part of the judge and federal prosecutors that emerged from ICE documents would have profoundly affected his chances of a successful appeal.
Yated Neeman has been featuring the saga of Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin for over two years. With much painstaking work we have compiled this article which accurately portrays the perfidy taking place in Iowa.
This article describes the gross disparity between usual procedures in federal criminal prosecutions under the immigration and bank-fraud laws and how Iowa federal prosecutors treated the case of Sholom Rubashkin, the Orthodox Jewish Hasidic businessman who was arrested on immigration-law violations relating to the Agriprocessors plant in Iowa and was found guilty after a jury trial of bank fraud and failure to pay cattle owners promptly.
The enormous disparity between the treatment of Mr. Rubashkin and others who committed similar offenses began with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) raid on Agriprocessors (“Agri”) on May 12, 2008, and has continued to this day.
President Obama’s recent nomination of Iowa U.S. Attorney Stephanie Rose to serve as a federal judge has forced into the spotlight an ugly chapter—the Postville Prosecutions of 2008. The rehashing of this disturbing odyssey has cast a dark shadow over Rose as she awaits Senate confirmation.
“Rose must now meet her moral and ethical duty to publicly explain her role [in the Postville Prosecutions], and give assurances that as a federal judge she will show a commitment to justice that she seemed to lack in 2008,” David Leopold, past president of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), wrote in the Huffington Post.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Newspapers have been on his tail for years. He had been under investigation for two years. He spent $2 million on lawyers. He faced charges that he accepted four subsidized, rent-stabilized apartments that he wasn’t entitled to, that he failed to properly report his personal income, that he failed to pay income taxes on an offshore rental property, and that he improperly used his powerful position to raise money for a university school of public service named for him.
Despite the seriousness of the charges, Congressman Charlie Rangel was never in danger of going to jail—or even standing trial. After all, as a member of Congress, he enjoys full immunity from prosecution. And Rangel is not just any congressman; he is the former chairman of the committee that writes the very tax laws he violated.
Rangel simply blamed his failure to pay taxes on inadvertent bookkeeping errors and swore that he never intended to accrue any personal benefit he wasn’t entitled to.
Disclosures that emerged at Sholom Rubashkin’s sentencing hearing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, last week blew the lid off a case riddled with false charges and distortions of the truth. A pattern of malicious misconduct by the U.S. attorney’s office in the prosecution of the case emerged from witness testimony.
Taking advantage of a final opportunity to make the truth part of the court record, a number of witnesses dismantled lies that had been told about AgriProcessors under Sholom Mordechai’s management. Although these lies were not aired at the trial, they were part of the indictment and can thus be used to ramp up a prison sentence.
The government’s sentencing memorandum had attacked the meatpacking plant as a corporation surviving off the labor of an underpaid workforce. Witnesses such as Mr. Aaron Goldsmith, former city councilman, who was intimately familiar with AgriProcessors, easily overturned these fabrications, testifying that safety, cleanliness and working conditions at Agri surpassed those in most other slaughterhouses in the country.
Capping almost a half century of what is colloquially referred to as the golden years of American Jewry, a Jew in this country is about to be figuratively burned at the stake.
As the saga of the United States vs. Sholom Rubashkin enters the sentencing phase, it’s become apparent that this grotesque parody of justice is about to culminate in an outcome that sends shudders through anyone familiar with the case. The government is poised to lock up Sholom Mordechai for life - for life - for the “paper” crimes for which he was convicted.
The actual sentence will be formally handed down on April 28 by Judge Linda Reade, after pre-sentencing recommendations have been forwarded by the prosecutor and probation officer. These government officers have already clearly staked out their positions.
The prosecutor recommended 22-27 years imprisonment, which the probation officer, whose job is to arrive at an appropriate sentence by reviewing the total picture, jacked up to the most extreme sentence possible short of the death penalty: life imprisonment.
Virtual life imprisonment has thus been ratcheted up to actual life imprisonment, absolutely unheard of in this country for a first-time, white collar offense.
An asifa last week in Montreal for Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin drew about 2,000 people in a citywide show of solidarity unusual for Montreal.
Key speakers included Rav Shimon Zev Meisels of Kiryas Yoel, who gave an impassioned talk about the importance of achdus and pidyon shvuyim;Yated editor Rav Pinchos Lipschutz; Rubashkin attorney Mark Weinhardt; and Sholom Mordechai, who addressed the gathering from the prison in Otisville, NY, in a pre-recorded telephone call. He asked listeners, as a special zechus, to resolve not to talk during Kaddish and to answer amein with the proper kavanah.
Meir Simcha Rubashkin, son of Sholom Mordechai, before introducing his father, spoke of Sholom Mordechai’s powerful influence in keeping the family strong, and the zechus of having such a father to look up to.
Rav Yochanon Wosner, rosh bais din of Skver, opened the evening with brief remarks.
Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin’s motion for mistrial, filed three weeks ago, has triggered a fiercely defensive response from the office of Iowa U.S. Attorney Stephanie Rose. The government brief contains glaring inconsistencies with facts on record, suggesting troubling attempts at a cover-up.
The motion for mistrial, filed by appellate lawyer Nathan Lewin with Iowa attorneys Guy Cook and Montgomery Brown, accuses Chief Judge Linda Reade, who presided over the trial, of unlawful over-involvement in the planning stages of the ICE raid.
New evidence based on documents released under FOIA painted a picture of collaboration by Judge Reade with law enforcement in the planning of the ICE operation and in the hundreds of prosecutions that followed.
Between five and seven thousand people jammed Lake Terrace Hall in Lakewood Monday night in an outpouring of solidarity for Sholom Mordechai Rubahskin that continued past midnight.
Rav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, rosh yeshiva of Bais Medrash Govoah, called for an intense identification with a fellow Jew’s pain and a readiness to be moser nefesh to rescue him from dire straits.
Rav Pinchos Lipschutz, publisher of Yated Ne’eman, opened a window into Sholom Mordechai’s private life, his embodiment of the extraordinary chesed he witnessed in his parents’ home, and his wellspring of bitachon that is the secret of his endurance.
He spelled out the poignancy of the family’s plight by applying the novi Yeshaya’s exhortation to straighten perverted justice and deal justly with the yasom and almana to Sholom Mordechai and his family.
In 2007, Agriprocessors was a flourishing family-owned business doing over $300 million in annual sales, renowned for the quality and affordability of its kosher products and its largesse to the American Jewish community.
Just one year later, the Postville meat-packing plant that spurred the economic growth and prosperity of the entire neighboring region was in its death throes, its owners driven out of business and into financial ruin by federal officials.
Today, after two years of extraordinarily relentless prosecution, its most visible representative, Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, is facing what amounts to a life sentence. Rank and file Americans and top legal opinions have decried the sentence as outrageous and grossly disproportionate. Hopes are strong that an appeal will overturn the conviction.
Still, the human wreckage caused by out-of-control prosecutors bolstered by biased rulings from a judge who appeared to have predetermined the verdict can never be fully reversed.
In a disturbing story of religious bigotry in heartland America, city officials in Postville, Iowa, were accused in a federal lawsuit of driving a Jewish businessman to financial ruin after years of anti-Semitic harassment and discrimination.
The case, with its potential for bringing disgrace to Postville’s elected officials, was kept out of the headlines by an out-of-court settlement finalized this week.
Gabay Menachem, a religious Jew residing in Postville, alleged that three members of the Postville City Council, City Clerk Darcy Radloff, Virginia Medberry and Jeff Reinhardt, had routinely discriminated against him and his business, GAL Investments, because of his Jewish faith.
In a brilliant, hard-hitting reply brief, attorneys Nathan Lewin and Paul Clement shredded the Government’s arguments challenging Sholom Rubahskin’s “cert” petition to the Supreme Court. The brief hammered home the injustice of the case which it says “must not stand.”
To briefly sum up the relay of legal filings to the Supreme Court:
The April “cert” petition asked the Supreme Court to overturn the 8th Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling which denied Sholom Mordechai’s motion for a re-trial, and upheld the outrageous 27-year sentence.