AP, December 21, 2017
President Donald Trump on Wednesday issued his first commutation since taking office, freeing the former CEO of an Iowa kosher meatpacking company.
Sholom Rubashkin, who ran the Iowa headquarters of a family business that was the country’s largest kosher meat-processing company, was convicted of money laundering in 2009.
His prosecution came after federal authorities staged a dramatic raid on the company’s Iowa plant in 2008, arriving by helicopter and detaining 389 illegal immigrants, including children.
The 57-year-old father of 10 submitted fake invoices to a bank that made Agriprocessors’ finances appear healthier than they were so that it could borrow more.
He has served more than eight years of his 27-year sentence.
Several members of Congress and high-ranking law enforcement officials had argued that Rubashkin’s sentence was overlong.
Alan Dershowitz, an emeritus Harvard professor, told the New York Times that he had urged both President Obama and President Trump to consider commuting Rubashkin’s sentence. Obama rebuffed the idea, Dershowitz said.
Trump’s commutation is not a pardon, meaning that Rubashkin’s conviction is not vacated, and he still must make restitution payments and submit to post-release supervision.
The action was “encouraged by bipartisan leaders from across the political spectrum, from Nancy Pelosi to Orrin Hatch,” the White House said.