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President Trump commutes 27-year sentence of Sholom Rubashkin

He will still have to pay restitution fines

by Alexa Liautaud
Dec 21 2017, 2:35am

President Trump on Wednesday commuted the sentence of a former kosher slaughterhouse executive who was serving 27 years for financial crimes.

Sholom Rubashkin, a 57-year-old father of 10, was arrested in Iowa in 2008, several months after Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided his meat-processing plant and arrested 389 illegal immigrants. Rubashkin was cleared of knowingly employing underage immigrants, but was found guilty of money laundering and fraud.

He had served eight years of his sentence.

The White House made clear in a statement that Rubashkin’s commutation was not a presidential pardon, which would otherwise clear him of his conviction. Instead, he’ll be released on supervised leave and will still have to make his restitution payments.

“The President’s review of Mr. Rubashkin’s case and commutation decision were based on expressions of support from Members of Congress and a broad cross-section of the legal community," the White House said in a statement. “A bipartisan group of more than 100 former high-ranking and distinguished Department of Justice officials, prosecutors, judges, and legal scholars have expressed concerns about the evidentiary proceedings in Mr. Rubashkin’s case and the severity of his sentence. “

In February, more than a hundred public leaders, including Attorneys General, FBI directors, and federal judges, wrote a letter to the president urging for Rabashakin’s commutation, calling his sentence “patently unjust” and “draconian.”

“Mr. Rubashkin is a devoted husband and father, a deeply religious man who simply doesn’t deserve a sentence of this length, or anything remotely close to it," the letter stated. “Indeed, his sentence is far longer than the median sentences for murder, kidnapping, sexual abuse, child pornography, and numerous other offenses exponentially more serious than his.”

Rubashkin has a history of political ties, single-handedly donating more than $23,000 since 2000 to various federal campaigns and organizations like the Republican Party of Iowa, according to data from the Federal Election Committee.