President Trump has commuted the sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, who was serving time for money laundering and bank fraud.
The White House issued a statement announcing the commutation, which stated that Rubashkin had already served over eight years of a 27-year prison sentence that some felt was “excessive in light of its disparity with sentences imposed for similar crimes.”
“This action is not a Presidential pardon,” the statement read. “It does not vacate Mr. Rubashkin’s conviction, and it leaves in place a term of supervised release and a substantial restitution obligation, which were also part of Mr. Rubashkin’s sentence.”
The statement added that there was a vast bipartisan support in calling for Rubashkin’s sentence to be reduced.
There has been a multitude of reactions to Rubashkin’s commutation:
Prior to his sentence, Rubashkin and his father ran the Agriprocessors plant, a kosher meat-packing plant and slaughterhouse that faced “serious allegations of mistreatment of animals and employees at the plant,” as reported by The Forward. In 2008, the plant was raided by federal officials, resulting in the arrest of 389 illegal immigrants from Mexico and Guatemala. Agriprocessors fell into financial hardship following the raid and was veering into bankruptcy, forcing Rubashkin to sell it. The plant was eventually purchased by Canadian billionaire Hershey Friedman and is now currently known as Agri Star Meat and Poultry.
In 2009, Rubashkin was convicted of defrauding a St. Louis bank by using fabricated numbers to obtain a $35 million line of credit for the bank, resulting in the 27-year prison sentence. The Chabad-Lubavitch movement and other Orthodox Jewish groups have since petitioned for Rubashkin’s release, claiming that the sentence was harshly unjust. Rubashkin is a member of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.