Chabadniks Rejoice as Trump Commutes Sentence of Sholom Rubashkin


President Donald Trump commuted his sentence Wednesday, in his first-ever use of the power.

Before his conviction, Rubashkin ran a massive kosher meat-processing company in Iowa.

WASHINGTON-President Donald Trump commuted his first prison sentence since taking office Wednesday, reducing the sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, the former head of a Kosher-meat processing plant convicted of bank fraud, by almost 20 years.

Bob Teig, who retired in 2011 after serving as a prosecutor and spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Iowa, said Trump's decision to commute Rubashkin's sentence "makes no sense" given Trump's repeated promises to get tougher on illegal immigration.

"Mr. Rubashkin has now served more than 8 years of that sentence, which many have called excessive in light of its disparity with sentences imposed for similar crimes", President Trump's announcement noted, reflecting deep resentments over the exceptionally harsh sentence in the Jewish community as well as in the legal community at the time of the trial.

With its announcement, the White House enclosed letters from several former United States attorneys general and Congress members from both sides of the aisle that raised questions about his conviction or asked that he receive clemency.

The release stated that the action is not a presidential pardon.

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Rubashkin, a father of 10, will have completed eight years of his sentence.

In addition, more than 30 current members of Congress have written letters in support of a review of Rubashkin's case.

Also among them were former U.S. Department of Justice officials who wanted a review of the case - Attorney General Bill Barr, Attorney General Edwin Meese III, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Solicitor General Seth Waxman and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Louis Freeh, according to the White House statement.

The raid on the Agriprocessors plant and Rubashkin's arrest led to the plant's temporary closure, with numerous town's Jews leaving. Prosecutors knew a forfeiture would drive down the purchase price, and therefore, create a loss for the bank to help their financial fraud case and increase Rubashkin's prison term, according to the motion.

Rubashkin's attorneys past year accused prosecutors of improperly interfering with the sale of Agriprocessors and depressing its sale price by millions. "The unrelenting efforts on Rubashkin's behalf have finally paid off". Trump extolled passage of the tax reform package as it nears, called for an end to the immigration visa lottery and celebrated the repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate included in the tax package.

Court filings indicate Rubashkin tried to appeal the judgment against him as recently as this year, and a federal appeals court declined to hear the case just last week.