U.S. Attorney’s Office Decries Being Depicted as ‘Nazis’ by Rubashkin’s Supporters

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published June 23, 2010, issue of July 02, 2010.
  • Print
  • Share Share

In an unusual move, prosecutors in the trial of kosher meatpacking executive Sholom Rubashkin have publicly decried a “concerted campaign” by Rubashkin’s defenders that they said aimed to portray them as “racists, Nazis, and zealots.”

“This office followed the law, stood silent in the face of vicious and false accusations, and worked to the conclusion of the case,” wrote Stephanie M. Rose, the United States attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, in a press statement released June 22 — the same day that Rubashkin received a 27-year prison sentence on bank fraud charges. “Silence is no longer in order.”

The letter rebuts criticism of the May 12, 2008, raid of the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, and of the prosecution of Rubashkin. It explicitly denies charges of bias based on Rubashkin’s Orthodox Jewish faith.

“[C]laims Rubashkin’s religious beliefs led to his prosecution have no foundation. His faith had nothing to do with his crimes, prosecution, or punishment,” Rose wrote.

The letter notes that nine lower-level managers and office workers at Agriprocessors pleaded guilty to other charges, and that Rubashkin himself profited from the bank fraud.

“Uncontroverted evidence at trial showed that, during just the two years immediately preceding May 2008, Rubashkin funneled about $1.5 million from Agriprocessors’ accounts to his personal bank accounts,” Rose wrote. “Hundreds of thousands of those dollars paid his personal credit card bills, remodeled his home, paid his taxes, paid his personal mortgage, bought jewelry and silver, and made his car payments.”

In a lengthy statement issued in response to Rose’s press release, Rubashkin attorney Nathan Lewin asserted, “To my knowledge, no responsible supporter of Mr. Rubashkin has said or implied that anyone on the prosecution team is a racist or a Nazi.”

But Lewin seemed to stand by the characterization of Rose as a zealot. “A consensus of the legal community, including six former U.S. Attorneys General, both liberal and conservative, have objected to Ms. Rose’s overzealousness in her initial sentencing recommendation,” he wrote.

Rose’s press statement makes an attempt to dispel what it says are false claims about the treatment of illegal workers during the immigration raid on the plant and at the National Cattle Congress grounds, where detainees were taken and processed. The prosecutor maintains that the workers were not mistreated, that a representative from the Guatemalan Consulate visited them and approved of their conditions, and that they had access to phones and televisions.

“The fact that some detractors have made false claims of prodding people down cattle chutes and other imagined abuses says more about those detractors’ personal agendas than it does about the real events in May 2008,” the prosecutor wrote.

Contact Josh Nathan-Kazis at nathankazis@forward.com. Follow him on Twitter @joshnathankazis.






Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.