Online petition calls for review of Rubashkin trial


JERUSALEM (JTA) — An online petition in support of jailed kosher meat executive Sholom Rubashkin calls on President Obama to order an investigation into judicial misconduct in his financial fraud trial.

Nearly 16,000 people have signed the petition, which was created on Sept. 22 by the Justice for Sholom organization.

On Sept. 26, an appeals court in St. Louis turned down a motion for a new trial for the former executive of Agriprocessers, once the nation’s largest kosher meat plant. The court in St. Louis ruled that the presiding judge in the original case, Linda Reade of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, did not have to recuse herself because she was involved in planning the May 2008 federal immigration raid on the Agriprocessors plant, which led to the company’s bankruptcy later that year.

Rubashkin was convicted of financial fraud in 2009 and sentenced to 27 years in prison, two more years than requested by prosecutors. He is serving his sentence in New York State. Several dozen members of Congress and a few U.S. attorneys general had written in favor of leniency in Rubashkin’s sentencing. In the federal raid on the plant, 389 illegal immigrants were arrested, including 31 minors.

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