U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday commuted the prison sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, the Iowa kosher slaughterhouse executive who was sentenced to 27 years in prison for fraud and money laundering.
The decision was “encouraged by bipartisan leaders from across the political spectrum, from Nancy Pelosi to Orrin Hatch,” said a statement from the White House.
Rubashkin is a 57-year-old father of 10 children. He previously ran the Iowa headquarters of a family business that was the country’s largest kosher meat-processing company. In 2009, he was convicted of bank fraud and later sentenced to 27 years in prison.
He was charged with defaulting on loans after his funds were frozen during a federal investigation into child labor violations that he was ultimately acquitted of, and immigration-related charges that the prosecution eventually declined to pursue.
“Rubashkin has now served more than eight years of that sentence, which many have called excessive in light of its disparity with sentences imposed for similar crimes,” the White House said.
“This action is not a Presidential pardon. 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,” the statement stressed.
“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,” it continued.
“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. Additionally, more than 30 current Members of Congress have written letters expressing support for review of Mr. Rubashkin’s case.”
In a recording circulated on the web, Rubashkin’s son said following the news, “I can’t even breathe. I can’t even try. I can’t even talk. My father is coming home. Baruch Hashem. G-d bless.”