The problems with the Lubavitch

The Lubavitch always play the anti-Semitism card
March 1, 2009, 4:24 pm
Filed under: crime, Iowa Slaughter House

from The Iowa Independent

Judge considers prejudice in Rubashkin grand jury indictment

By Lynda Waddington 2/24/09 2:50 PM

Defense attorneys painted an unappealing picture of anti-Semitism for U.S. District Court Judge Linda Reade Monday during a hearing to determine if charges against a former Agriprocessors executive should be dropped, or the case moved to a different court or heard separately from others indicted in the aftermath of a massive 2008 immigration raid.

Sholom M. Rubashkin

Sholom M. Rubashkin

Sholom M. Rubashkin, the highest ranking day-to-day corporate officer at the Postville meatpacking plant, faces a total of 97 charges ranging from bank fraud to immigration-related offenses that, when combined, carry a possible maximum sentence of more than 2,000 years in prison.

The Rubashkin family — founders and former operators of the Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant — subscribe to one of the largest Hasidic movements in Orthodox Judaism: Chabad-Lubavitch.

Attorneys argued Monday that anti-Semitic stereotypes were present in grand jury testimony and that the resulting indictment was tainted from the beginning against their client. It’s an opinion shared by Dr. Patricia F. Kuehn, an Illinois-based consultant hired by the defense.

People who are repeatedly exposed to stereotypes “have no other option but to be prejudiced,” Kuehn testified, according to Erika Binegar of the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Kuehn specifically pointed to references to Rubashkin as a “Jewish guy with a small hat and a beard” and to religious considerations that prevent some Jews from collecting interest on loans to others of the same faith.

Prosecutors depicted Kuehn’s testimony as limited, indicting that she was privy to only portions of the grand jury testimony and that she used surveys of American attitudes and expert affidavits to construct the difference.

The strongest criticisms expressed at the hearing, according to a report filed by the Associated Press, were reserved for the press, bloggers and Iowa Gov. Chet Culver.

Stating that Rubashkin had already been convicted in the “court of public opinion,” defense attorney Guy Cook presented Reade with various news articles, editorials and blog comments.

Jim Clarity, an attorney representing Agriprocessors’ interests, referred to the pretrial publicity as “sickening” and compared the plight of mounting a defense in the Northern District of Iowa to that of the Jews facing Nazi persecution in 1939 Poland.

“Move it to Minnesota or Chicago, but not Iowa because Iowa is poison,” Clarity said.

Culver was mentioned by name due in large part to an August editorial that implied plant management had taken a “low road” and compared the situation in Postville to the scene described in novelist Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle.”

Reade, who reversed an earlier decision to keep Rubashkin behind bars until his September trial date and allowed review of grand jury testimony by the defense’s consultant, did not make a ruling following Monday’s testimony.

Reade ordered Feb. 18 that grand jury testimony could be viewed by Dr. Mollie Marti, an expert trial witness identified by Rubashkin’s legal team. But a conflict prevented Marti from attending the scheduled Monday hearing; Marti suggested Kuehn, and Reade agreed to the change.

Kuehn and Marti were previously partners in Performance Sciences, a Cedar Rapids-based firm whose services include life coaching for athletic and corporate clients. Kuehn holds a master’s degree in social psychology and is licensed to practice law in Illinois. She also previously worked as a trial consultant with Carlton Trial Consulting & Research Center in Chicago prior to becoming an independent trial consultant.

Rubashkin is charged with:

  • Conspiracy to harbor undocumented aliens (maximum 10 years imprisonment)
  • Harboring undocumented aliens and aiding and abetting the harboring of aliens (maximum 10 years imprisonment)
  • Conspiracy to commit document fraud (maximum five years imprisonment)
  • Aiding and abetting document fraud (maximum 10 years imprisonment)
  • Aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft (combined maximum 12 years imprisonment)
  • Bank fraud (combined maximum 450 years imprisonment)
  • False statements and reports to a bank (combined maximum 1,260 years imprisonment)
  • Money laundering and aiding and abetting money laundering (combined maximum 200 years imprisonment)
  • Willful violations of an order of the secretary of agriculture (combined maximum 100 years imprisonment)

Agriprocessors, which never fully recovered from the immigration raid in May, has limited production while under the supervision of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy trustee. A sale of assets has been scheduled for March 23.


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