Trump performs first commutation of prison sentence as president

Sholom Rubashkin

Around 300 employees of the plant, many of whom were Guatemalan, served prison sentences for identity theft, and several managers and supervisors were convicted of felony charges of harboring immigrants in the country illegally. It does not vacate Mr. Rubashkin's conviction, and it leaves in place a term of supervised release and a substantial restitution obligation, which were also part of Mr. Rubashkin's sentence.

Trump's decision to commute Rubashkin's sentence had bipartisan support, including from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Republican Sen.

Before his conviction, Rubashkin ran a massive kosher meat-processing company in Iowa. Prosecutors accused him of using the fake documents to defraud a St. Louis-based bank of $27 million. Federal agents arrested hundreds of people in the raid, some of whom were found to be living and working in the U.S. illegally.

The investigation touched off a chain of events, including a bankruptcy declaration by Agriprocessors, that turned investigatiors on to suspicious invoices and other sales records that Rubashkin had falsified to make the company appear more profitable, reports the Des Moines Register. He was later convicted of bank fraud in federal court. The immigration-related charges against Rubashkin were dropped after he was convicted of fraud. The judge, Linda Reade, handed down an unusually long sentence that critics suspected had been motivated by antisemitism.

More than 100 U.S. attorneys general, judges, and other judicial professionals signed a letter to Trump in February, pleading for clemency on Rubashkin's behalf.

Despite six amicus briefs joined by numerous legal heavyweights, the Supreme Court in 2012 denied a petition from Rubashkin to look into his case and sentencing.

The White House released a collection of letters from over 30 members of Congress and former Justice Department officials online. Outgoing New York City Council member David Greenfield, an Orthodox Jew who represents the neighborhood where Rubaskin's family lives, called the news a "Chanukah miracle" on Twitter.

The commutation granted to Sholom Rubashkin, 57, marked only the second time that Trump has invoked his clemency authority as president, following the blanket pardon he granted earlier this year to Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona.

"A bipartisan group of more than 100 former high-ranking and distinguished Department of Justice (DOJ) officials, prosecutors, judges, and legal scholars have expressed concerns about the evidentiary proceedings in Mr. Rubashkin's case and the severity of his sentence".

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