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Life Sentence Sought By Feds for Kosher Meat Plant Exec Ignites Firestorm

Posted Apr 26, 2010 12:52 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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News that federal prosecutors are seeking an unusual life sentence for an executive of a kosher meatpacking plant in Iowa has ignited a firestorm of criticism.

Originally targeted in a huge 2008 immigration raid of the Postville company then known as Agriprocessors Inc., Sholom Rubashkin was charged in a massive bank fraud after financial irregularities came to light. He was convicted in late 2009 of 86 of the 91 counts he faced, KCCI reports.

Now prosecutors say federal sentencing guidelines call for a life prison term, given the scope of the crime. Five other company officials who made plea deals and testified against him received lesser sentences, reports USA Today.

"Our sense is that the call for a life sentence is completely disproportionate," his attorney, Alyza Lewin, tells ABC News. "This is a first-time, non-violent offender. He has 10 children. One of them is severely autistic. He has done tremendous charitable work. To suggest that his activities warrant life in prison, where you put murderers, people who represent an ongoing threat to society, it makes no sense."

Additional coverage:

Chabad Info: "Trial Transcript Reveals Web of Lies"

Telegraph: "Dershowitz on Rubashkin"

Yeshiva World: "Former U.S. Attorneys, Legal Scholars, Chastise Sentencing Recommendation for Rubashkin"

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