Veteran American jurist and former Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz responded to the commutation of Sholom Rubashkin's prison sentence by US President Donald Trump.
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.
Dershowitz told the Hamodia newspaper that the president did the right thing in commuting Rubashkin's sentence,
"I was outraged by the sentence, because it appeared to me to be about ten times longer than sentences for comparable cases involving non-Jews or non-Orthodox Jews," Dershowitz told Hamodia.
"I think if he weren’t a Hasidic Jew, he would not have gotten that sentence. And the evidence of that is there are other cases in this district involving non-Jews where the sentences were much lower for more serious frauds and crimes.
While Dershowitz would not say whether he thought Rubashkin received such a harsh sentence because of anti-Semitism, he said that there was clear "animosity" towards Rubashkin" by the prosecutor and by the judge."
He accused the prosecutors of having "manipulated the sale price of the business, to bring the sale price down, to cause the losses to go up to increase the sentence."
Dershowitz also said that the conduct of the presiding judge, Judge Linda Reade, was "disgraceful: right from the beginning, where she helped engineer the search and then stayed on the case; the fact that her husband is invested in prisons for profit; the sentencing in the case – the totality of the circumstances creates the impression of bias."
He said that he had raised the issue of the issue of Rubashkin's unjust sentence with the Obama Administration, to no avail, and continued to raise the issue with the Trump Administration.