The bankruptcy of kosher slaughterhouse Agriprocessors Inc. may be long over, but the legal drama continues. Former executive Sholom Rubashkin, who was sentenced in 2010 to 27 years in prison for fraud, now has the American Civil Liberties Union on his side.
Last week, the ACLU’s Iowa chapter submitted a friend-of-court brief seeking a new trial for the company’s former vice president, who was sentenced on 86 counts of financial fraud. U.S. District Court Judge Linda Reade should have stepped down as the presiding judge after the May 2008 immigration raid on the meat-processing plant, the ACLU said in a statement filed Thursday. Rubaskin’s fraud scheme collapsed not long after the raid.
“We were deeply disturbed by the government’s behavior in the Postville raids,” ACLU Iowa said. “Upon learning about the memos describing the role of Judge Reade in planning this affair, we felt compelled to argue for a new trial.”
According to the ACLU statement, which was first reported on by the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier, the brief doesn’t say Reade did anything wrong but notes there could be bias.
“Reade should have either recused herself or permitted further inquiry into her involvement. Defense lawyers requested further discovery on this issue, but were denied.”
Agriprocessors filed for bankruptcy protection in 2008, a few months after the now-infamous immigration raid yielded 389 arrests and caused many of the workers to be deported. It has since been sold to SHF Industries and is now called Agri Star.