News and Commentary

Trump Just Commuted His First Prison Sentence

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump commuted the sentence of a federal prisoner by the name of Sholom Rubashkin, the former owner of the U.S.’ largest kosher meat-processing plant who was sentenced to 27 years behind bars for financial crimes in 2009.

President Trump pardoned former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in August, but Rubashkin’s prison sentence is the first he’s commuted.

Members on both sides of the political aisle petitioned the Obama Administration to commute Rubashkin’s atypically long sentence, to no avail, of course.

The father of ten, a religious man, has served eight of the 27 years he was sentenced. His conviction stands, and he’ll still be accountable for 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 regarding the commutation.

The statement 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.”

As reported by The Hill, Rubashkin’s Iowa-based company was raided by the feds in late 2008 and the CEO was found guilty of money laundering and bank fraud. “Hundreds of Rubashkin’s employees were arrested for working in the country illegally,” says the report.

Legal experts and attorneys general wrote in defense of Mr. Rubashkin to President Trump earlier this year.

“Essentially, Mr. Rubashkin was convicted of fraud offenses stemming from inflating collateral to obtain a higher line of credit for Agriprocessors, his father’s kosher meat business, and for paying some cattle owners 11 days late,” said the letter.

“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 lawyers continued. “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.”