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ACLU and Others Support Rubashkin Retrial

Three amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs have been filed in the past week in support of a motion to retry former Agriprocessors’ executive Sholom Rubashkin, according to Yated Ne’eman a weekly Haredi newspaper. The briefs were filed by the Iowa chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, The Washington Legal Foundation and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

The briefs support a motion submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit by Rubashkin’s lawyers Nathan Lewin and Alyza Lewin, in August 2010. The ACLU, which previously came out against the treatment of workers at the Agriprocessors kosher meat plant, “filed the brief after it found out that [Linda] Reade, chief judge of the U.S. Court for the Northern District of Iowa, was involved in a troubling way with prosecutors and investigators, helping to plan the raid and arrests,” according to a statement issued by the ACLU.

The statement claims that:

• Reade as judge began meeting with prosecutors 10 months before the raid, while the raid was in the early planning stages.
• She insisted that the raid would be planned for a time when she personally be available to hear the case. It appears the raid was scheduled to work around her vacation time.
• Immigration officials reported that Reade before the raid surveyed the National Cattle Congress grounds in Waterloo, where detainees were housed and processed. Reade denies that she did so.
• She asked for a “final game plan” for the raid and a “briefing” on the operation.
• She appears to have discussed the prosecutions charging strategies and pre-approved the pleas offers in advance of the raid.

Reade sentenced Rubashkin to 27 years in federal prison for financial fraud committed while running Agriprocessors, the largest kosher meat plant in the country. The Washington Legal Foundation’s brief claims that the court overreached in its sentencing. The brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is not currently available.

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