Sholom Rubashkin's First Federal Trial Has Started
The first federal trial of former AgriProcessors executive Sholom Rubashkin began this week for fraud, money laundering, and livestock charges. A trial for federal immigration-related charges will begin one week following the conclusion of the first trial. Rubashkin faces 163 federal charges and up to 1,995 years in jail; he has pleaded not guilty to all 163 counts. Separately, he faces state charges for violating Iowa child labor laws. Click here to read an Associated Press account of the trial's opening statements.
Although it's been widely reported that Rubashkin faces livestock-related charges, not one of the 163 federal charges in these two trials pertains to AgriProcessors' treatment of animals. Sources differ on whether Rubashkin faces 19 or 20 "livestock" charges for allegedly violating the U.S. Packers and Stockyards Act. The Des Moines Register explains:
Some of the charges against Rubashkin are unusual for a federal criminal case, legal scholars said. Prosecutors allege that Rubashkin violated a 2002 order by the U.S. secretary of agriculture to pay cattle providers within 24 hours of a sale.
The charge stems from a 1921 law, the U.S. Packers and Stockyards Act. The law requires "prompt payment" to protect livestock producers. Two scholars who studied the law said they had never seen it invoked in a criminal case.
heebnvegan will not be covering the trial in great depth. If you are interested in following along closely, I recommend reading Failed Messiah or setting up a Google Alert.
Click here to read last month's post in the lead-up to the trial, titled "In the Spirit of High Holidays Reflection."