Top Stories

Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

crystal_sugar_80
By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

hermancain_80x80
By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Rabbis call for Rubashkin’s release

By Lynda Waddington | 01.13.09 | 1:53 pm

Former Agriprocessors chief executive Sholom Rubashkin, now in jail on bank fraud and immigration charges, should be released, said his defense attorney, flanked by several rabbis at a press conference in Dubuque Monday.

Rubashkin, a 49-year-old son of Agriprocessors founder A. Aaron Rubashkin, was arrested twice last fall by federal authorities. Although allowed to post bail following his first arrest on immigration-related charges at the end of October, the court denied his second request for bail when he was re-arrested in mid-November on additional charges that included multi-million-dollar bank fraud.

Rabbi Yaakov Wasser, vice president of the New York-based Rabbinical Council of America, said Rubashkin would not flee if given bail.

“Sholom is well aware of how many people have advocated on his behalf, and a betrayal of their confidence would cause irrevocable damage to himself, his family, his community, and the many honorable individuals who have shown their support for him,”  Wasser said in a written statement, included in court documents, after visiting the Dubuque Law Enforcement Center

Guy Cook, Rubashkin’s attorney, criticized U.S. Magistrate Judge Jon Scoles for referring to Israel’s Law of Return in his decision to deny bail and federal prosecutors for including the law in their arguments.

“Under the government’s view, every Jew in this country is at a greater risk of flight because of their Jewish heritage,” said Cook of the Des Moines law firm Grefe & Sidney.  “[The government] has asserted the so-called ‘Law of Return,’ which was designed to protect Jews from being persecuted, and ironically used it against this man to detain him pending his trial.”

Israel’s Law of Return provides citizenship to any Jew and members of his family who express desire to settle in the country. Although other considerations were cited by Scoles in his decision to keep Rubashkin detained, his ruling concerning the Israeli law have drawn the most scrutiny from Jewish groups.

Cook said that prosecutors for the U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of Iowa, who argued before the court that the Israeli law should be a factor, must also believe that U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff are a greater risk of flight because of their Jewish status.

“[The rabbis] are here to say that this man — because of his faith, because of what he believes in — will not flee,” Cook said. “His character, his religious tenants, would prevent him from that. Specifically, if he was to flee in light of this support that these gentlemen have provided through their organizations, he would dishonor not only himself, but dishonor these men — something he will not do.”

In a court filing that coincided with the press conference, Cook argued that the government’s assertion that Rubashkin “violated his previous conditions of pretrial release by committing bank fraud, attempting to obstruct justice, and tampering with evidence” was false.

A travel was bag found in Rubashkin’s home in Postville that contained a substantial amount of cash, not taken by arresting law enforcement and estimated to be several thousand dollars, according to the prosecutors seeking to deny bail.

Rubashkin’s attorneys assert that the money was a combination of ritual silver coins using during the Jewish holiday of Purim, charity consisting of $1 bills and donations from the Jewish community to be used for Rubashkin’s legal fees. The attorneys further argue that the money and other items, including passport documents, had been moved from a dresser to the closet to prevent “mischief” by Rubashkin’s autistic son. The defense also asserted that nearly all of the money previously viewed by arresting officers in the Rubashkin home has been used for family expenses, and that less than $3,500 remains.

If Rubashkin is not granted bail, he will remain in federal custody until his trial, which is currently scheduled to begin this September in Cedar Rapids.

Representatives of the U.S. attorney’s office continue to have no comment about the ongoing bail proceedings.

Agriprocessors, a kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, made national headlines when it was the site of a massive immigration raid on May 12, 2008. The plant, now in bankruptcy, is operating under the watchful eye of a court-appointed trustee. Joseph Sarachek, the trustee, is hopeful that a new buyer will be found for the company during the first quarter of 2009.

The Dubuque Telegraph Herald has video from the press conference.

Follow Lynda Waddington on Twitter


Comments

  • ravkarp

    I happen to be one rabbi who feels that the court is fully justified in withholding bail from Mr. Rubashkin. That his defense would try to claim that the bag found in his closet containing a significant amount of cash and passport documents was really a combination of ritual Purim coins and charitable donations is ludicrous. That rabbis should support such claims is disgraceful.

    If it were not so sad, the statement by Mr. Cook that “[The rabbis] are here to say that this man — because of his faith, because of what he believes in — will not flee. His character, his religious tenants, would prevent him from that. Specifically, if he was to flee in light of this support that these gentlemen have provided through their organizations, he would dishonor not only himself, but dishonor these men — something he will not do” would be laughable. Everything this man has done so far belies this statement. By violating so many of the ethical principles of his faith; by violating the laws of this nation; by so cruelly and selfishly abusing those desperate individuals which turned to him for employment demonstrate that he has little if any respect for the tenants of Judaism, other than the ritual ones, and especially those ritual tenants which he has used to amass significant wealth.

    It is alarming that some Jews would abuse Israel's Law of Return, not to flee persecution but rather prosecution. I clearly believe that Mr. Rubashkin in one of them. Perhaps one day, Israel and the US can clearly establish an agreement that those American Jews under indictment in our country will automatically be returned for trial and sentencing, should they attempt such a flight.

    As for his rabbinic supporters, I wonder how many of them would be willing to continue to support him if our court system was such that if he did flee, he could still be tried in absentia, and that they would have to carry out any prison sentence in his place. They should thank God daily that ours is a court system based on true justice and not on retribution or hostage taking!

  • turkeystone

    One wonders why S. Rubahskin, Inc. decided to try his case in the press. Could it be that they know well what the result of accumulated evidence is likely to be in the courts? Generally speaking, Federal Courts are not impressed with staged media-events. Neither are most Iowans.

  • ravkarp

    I happen to be one rabbi who feels that the court is fully justified in withholding bail from Mr. Rubashkin. That his defense would try to claim that the bag found in his closet containing a significant amount of cash and passport documents was really a combination of ritual Purim coins and charitable donations is ludicrous. That rabbis should support such claims is disgraceful.

    If it were not so sad, the statement by Mr. Cook that “[The rabbis] are here to say that this man — because of his faith, because of what he believes in — will not flee. His character, his religious tenants, would prevent him from that. Specifically, if he was to flee in light of this support that these gentlemen have provided through their organizations, he would dishonor not only himself, but dishonor these men — something he will not do” would be laughable. Everything this man has done so far belies this statement. By violating so many of the ethical principles of his faith; by violating the laws of this nation; by so cruelly and selfishly abusing those desperate individuals which turned to him for employment demonstrate that he has little if any respect for the tenants of Judaism, other than the ritual ones, and especially those ritual tenants which he has used to amass significant wealth.

    It is alarming that some Jews would abuse Israel's Law of Return, not to flee persecution but rather prosecution. I clearly believe that Mr. Rubashkin in one of them. Perhaps one day, Israel and the US can clearly establish an agreement that those American Jews under indictment in our country will automatically be returned for trial and sentencing, should they attempt such a flight.

    As for his rabbinic supporters, I wonder how many of them would be willing to continue to support him if our court system was such that if he did flee, he could still be tried in absentia, and that they would have to carry out any prison sentence in his place. They should thank God daily that ours is a court system based on true justice and not on retribution or hostage taking!

  • turkeystone

    One wonders why S. Rubahskin, Inc. decided to try his case in the press. Could it be that they know well what the result of accumulated evidence is likely to be in the courts? Generally speaking, Federal Courts are not impressed with staged media-events. Neither are most Iowans.

  • ravkarp

    I happen to be one rabbi who feels that the court is fully justified in withholding bail from Mr. Rubashkin. That his defense would try to claim that the bag found in his closet containing a significant amount of cash and passport documents was really a combination of ritual Purim coins and charitable donations is ludicrous. That rabbis should support such claims is disgraceful.

    If it were not so sad, the statement by Mr. Cook that “[The rabbis] are here to say that this man — because of his faith, because of what he believes in — will not flee. His character, his religious tenants, would prevent him from that. Specifically, if he was to flee in light of this support that these gentlemen have provided through their organizations, he would dishonor not only himself, but dishonor these men — something he will not do” would be laughable. Everything this man has done so far belies this statement. By violating so many of the ethical principles of his faith; by violating the laws of this nation; by so cruelly and selfishly abusing those desperate individuals which turned to him for employment demonstrate that he has little if any respect for the tenants of Judaism, other than the ritual ones, and especially those ritual tenants which he has used to amass significant wealth.

    It is alarming that some Jews would abuse Israel's Law of Return, not to flee persecution but rather prosecution. I clearly believe that Mr. Rubashkin in one of them. Perhaps one day, Israel and the US can clearly establish an agreement that those American Jews under indictment in our country will automatically be returned for trial and sentencing, should they attempt such a flight.

    As for his rabbinic supporters, I wonder how many of them would be willing to continue to support him if our court system was such that if he did flee, he could still be tried in absentia, and that they would have to carry out any prison sentence in his place. They should thank God daily that ours is a court system based on true justice and not on retribution or hostage taking!

  • turkeystone

    One wonders why S. Rubahskin, Inc. decided to try his case in the press. Could it be that they know well what the result of accumulated evidence is likely to be in the courts? Generally speaking, Federal Courts are not impressed with staged media-events. Neither are most Iowans.

Switch to our mobile site