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Former Agriprocessors Chief Appeals Conviction

Former Agriprocessors kosher meat packing executive Sholom Rubashkin has appealed his conviction and sentence for bank fraud to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Rubashkin on Monday filed a petition for writ of certiorari from the High Court. The court can decide to review the case, or let an appeals court ruling stand.

Last September, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis denied Rubashkin’s bid for a new trial, in which he presented evidence that the original trial was unfair because of the involvement of Judge Linda Reade of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa in planning the May 2008 federal immigration raid on Agriprocessors that led to the company’s bankruptcy later that year.

Rubashkin, the former head of what once was the nation’s largest kosher slaughterhouse and packing plant, in Postville, Iowa, was convicted on 86 counts of financial fraud in 2009 and sentenced to 27 years in prison. Rubashkin is in a federal prison in New York State.

Rubashkin is also appealing to the Supreme Court to shorten his 27-year sentence, which the appeals court upheld as “reasonable.” Rubashkin says it violates federal sentencing laws for a first-time, nonviolent offender.

In the federal raid on the plant in May 2008, 389 illegal immigrants, including 31 children, were arrested.

More than 52,000 people have signed a petition on the White House’s “We the People” website, urging an investigation into misconduct by the prosecution. In addition, 50 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have written letters to Attorney General Eric Holder, calling for an investigation into the allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. In June, 75 U.S. Attorneys and law professors sent a letter to the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility, calling for an immediate investigation into allegations of improper communications between Judge Reade and prosecutors.

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