Wendy Weiner Runge, the Minnesota haredi woman caught in the Iowa Film Office scandal, reported to an Iowa state prison today to begin serving a sentence that could last as long as 10 years.
She got the stiff sentence after the judge in her case was shown Runge's public blog posts about him, prosecutors and the Iowa justice system. Runge basically called Iowa law enforcement antisemitic and insisted she was innocent – despite the existence of incredibly incriminating emails between her and a co-conspirator.
That, along with one of the most insincere guilty pleas ever, so angered the judge that he sentenced her to years more prison time than he otherwise would have.
Runge was following former Agriprocessors VP Sholom Rubashkin's defense strategy and was encouraged in doing so by her haredi rabbis and her community. They also claimed Runge's crime was a simple "clerical error," similar to Rubashkin's supporters' claims about overstating collateral on a $35 million loan being no different than telling a small white lie on a credit card application.
Her behavior helped Rubashkin raise more money that he otherwise might have, but did little for Runge – other than getting her locked up for as long as a decade.
She appealed her sentence three times, the last being to the Iowa Supreme Court. It rejected her appeal January 30.
Runge is married and has several children, at least two of whom still live at home.