I spoke with the PR person who wrote…
…this press release. Andrew Moesel told me the Rubashkin family is the client his agency (Hank Sheinkopf) works for. Moesel told me he has contact with many different Rubashkin family members, but one, Rubashkin son-in-law Rabbi Yaakov Weiss, is his main contact.
I asked Moesel about Weiss' arrest for child sexual abuse. Moesel said he was unanware of that and weas not representing the family on that issue.
Information in this press release was given to him by Weiss and by Guy Cook, Rubashkin's attorney:
*/_For Immediate Release_/*
Tuesday , January 27, 2009 Contact: Andrew Moesel *_SHOLOM RUBASHKIN FREED ON BAIL!!_*
*_ _* */Family members praise decision and advocates, say justice has been served/* */_ _/*
*Cedar Rapids, IA –* An Iowa judge ruled that Sholom Rubashkin will be freed on bail later this week, overturning the original, unfair decision to deny him freedom based on his religious background. Advocates for Mr. Rubashkin praised the decision as a victory for equal rights and religious freedom.
“Justice prevailed today,” said Guy Cook, Mr. Rubashkin’s attorney. “Judge Reade protected this man's constitutional rights! She made those rights come alive!”
Mr. Rubashkin will be freed on $500,000 bail this Thursday, and he must surrender his birth certificate and family passports. He also pledged not to contact a list of people related to the case and to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet. The judge ruled that more extreme measures, such as armed guards or additional surety, were not necessary.
Over the course of two days, Judge Linda Reade heard substantial testimony that the U.S. attorney had trumped up evidence against Mr. Rubashkin, who in fact has strong ties to the community and intends to fight the charges against him in court. On the first day, Leah Rubashkin, Mr. Rubashkin’s wife, testified that the U.S. attorney had misconstrued the purpose of cash found at their home, saying it was to pay for family expenses. She described Mr. Rubashkin as a loving family man with 10 children, one of whom, his 15-year old son Moishe, is autistic. The money and other documents were put in a closet to hide them from Moishe, Leah Rubashkin said, who often rifles through drawers and cabinets.
“We are very grateful for the beautiful outpouring of good wishes and prayers from all around the world. It means so much to Sholom and I to know that we have this continuous spiritual strength behind us during these times,” said Mrs. Rubashkin after the decision.
The following day heard similar testimony to Mr. Rubashkin’s character – from Amy Dickel, a Postville Insurance Agent, Rabbi Ziewbel, a prominent leader in the Orthodox Jewish Community in America, who is accorded special respect in the Yeshiva world, and Joe Shochet, A trustee for Agriprocessors. Arguments were also made that he was being unfairly treated because of his religion.
[ Update 1:17 pm – Moesel now says Joe Schochet is a "family friend" who testified for Rubashkin and the trustee, Joe Sarachek, only provided an affidavit.]
Many legal and religious scholars have criticized the decision to hold Mr. Rubashkin on the grounds that his Jewish heritage made it more likely he would flee to Israel. By citing the Israeli ‘Law of Return’ policy, which grants expedited citizenship, the U.S. Attorney would have created a special class for all 5.3 million Jewish Americans in which every Jew would be viewed as a greater flight risk than non-Jews. The Anti-Defamation League had sent a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey asking him to reverse this decision. ADL lawyers said they were unaware of any other case citing the Law of Return as a means to withhold bail.
Mr. Rubashkin, former CEO of the kosher meat packing company Agriprocessors, Inc., had been held without bail since being arrested on Nov. 14. Since his detention, dozens of Jewish Iowa residents have offered their homes as collateral for bail, totaling $2 million, as has a Brooklyn man whose home is valued at $4 million. The court had also received nearly 300 letters testifying to Mr. Rubashkin’s character. A delegation of prominent rabbis from around the country also visited Mr. Rubashkin in Dubuque County Jail this month, later publicly stating that he had strong ties not only to the local community but to the larger Jewish community in America.
Family members and prominent Jewish community members applauded the decision. They had called upon Jews around the country to pray for Mr. Rubashkin’s freedom during the bail hearings on both Monday and Tuesday. The Rubashkin family and members of the community gathered in Brooklyn, /Rosh Chodesh Shevat/, at 9:30 a.m. each morning to say /tefillos/ on behalf of Mr. Rubashkin. They had asked other Jews around the country to set aside a few moments at home, school, or /shul/ to recite /Tehillim/ and learn Torah in the /zechus/ of Shalom Mordechai Halevi Ben Rivkah. The community of Postville, Mr. Rubashkin’s home, also designated Monday, /Erev Rosh Chodesh Shevat/,/ /as a half day voluntary fast day.
Agriprocessors Inc., which closed temporarily after being raided by authorities last year, is moving forward under a court appointed trustee. They are continuing to provide kosher meats to the many Jewish communities all around the country and look forward to prospering in the future.
Update 1:18 pm: