Judge reduces Rubashkin bail; release expected Thursday
By JENS MANUEL KROGSTAD, Courier Staff Writer
CEDAR RAPIDS —- U.S. Judge Linda Reade ordered former Agriprocessors CEO Shalom Rubashkin’s bail reduced this morning, facilitating his release from jail awaiting trial.
Reade reduced Rubashkin’s bond to $500,000 and allowed him released from jail under several conditions, including: that he and his family surrender their passports and birth certificates; that he wear an electronic monitoring bracelet; and that his travel be restricted to Allamakee County.
In response to allegations that Rubashkin violated court orders, Reade ordered Rubashkin not to have contact with potential witnesses. He also was barred from setting foot on Agriprocessors property.
He will be released at 8 a.m. Thursday, unless the federal government appeals his release.
Rubashkin’s attorney, Guy Cook of Des Moines, attributed the release to the fact that Reade was able to hear witnesses testify to Rubashkin’s commitment to the Postville and Jewish communities.
“He (Rubashkin) is not a coward,” Cook said. “He wants to face these charges . Justice has prevailed. Judge Reade has protected his constitutional rights.”
Rubashkin faces charges of harboring illegal immigrants, document fraud, bank fraud and identity theft. Earlier this month, the government filed a third round of charges for money laundering and violating orders from the U.S. agriculture secretary. Rubashkin has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and is being held at the Dubuque County Jail.
Federal immigration authorities raided the Postville plant in May, detaining 390 people.
Rubashkin’s case has gained notoriety in part because Israel’s “law of return” was cited as one reason for denying bail. Israel extends citizenship to any Jewish person or family member who wishes to settle in the country.
After his initial arrest in October, Rubashkin was granted release on a $1 million bond and a requirement he wear a GPS monitor.
But after a second round of charges were filed, agents said they found $20,000 in cash and silver coins and passports backed in a travel bag in his bedroom.
The Des Moines Register:
Sholom Rubashkin, the former top executive at the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville, should be released from custody on $500,000 bond while he awaits trial on multiple federal counts of bank fraud and of helping illegal immigrants obtain false documents, a judge ruled this morning
Rubashkin has been in federal custody since Nov. 14. Prosecutors had contended he might flee if let out of jail.
Rubashkin is expected to be released from jail Thursday morning.
His wife, Leah Rubashkin, expressed relief outside the courtroom. She said she could not wait to welcome her husband home.
“We’ll give him a warm meal that he hasn’t had in two months,” she said. “And he’ll be surrounded by his children, who love him and miss him.”
A magistrate judge agreed with prosecutors last fall to deny bail for Rubashkin. The case has gained national attention because the magistrate’s decision was partly based on the theory that Rubashkin could become an Israeli citizen under Israel’s “Law of Return,” which welcomes Jews from around the world.
Prosecutors noted that two other former Agriprocessors managers are believed to have fled to Israel instead of facing charges in the United States. One of them has repeatedly contacted people in northeast Iowa, an FBI agent testified, though the agent acknowledged that he has no evidence that the man has contacted the Rubashkins.…
[Hat Tip: Postville Radio.]