Former Agriprocessors CEO appeals for release on bail
By Trish Mehaffey
CEDAR RAPIDS — Former Agriprocessors CEO Sholom Rubashkin filed an appeal motion for bail Monday after Jewish leaders came to the Dubuque County Jail to protest his detention.
The motion is a reply to the government's argument last month asking the court to keep Rubashkin in jail until his Sept. 8 trial date because he is a flight risk. U.S. District Chief Judge Linda Reade will likely rule later this month.
There are several reasons listed in the motion arguing why Rubashkin isn't a flight risk.
The government contended that Rubashkin violated his pretrial conditions by committing bank fraud and tampering with evidence.
The appeal says the government based those allegations on two conversations Rubashkin had with an employee. Rubashkin allegedly told the employee to delete check entries on the computer system and to "clean up his/her desk."
The deleted check entries would still be on computer backup files and the cleanup comment was an "innocent instruction" given to several employees to prepare for the trustee, according to the appeal motion.
The government also claimed Rubashkin was preparing to flee when agents arrested him because they found cash and identification documents in a closet.
The cash was to be used for family expenses, not to flee the country, according to the appeal motion. There was also a travel pouch found with money, but it was leftover from a trip, not escape money, the motion says.
The defense also argues that Rubashkin wouldn't flee because his entire life, even without Agriprocessors, is in Postville. His family lives there and he owns a real estate company, Nevel Properties Inc.
One of the national Jewish leaders, Rabbi Yaakov Wasser, vice president of the Rabbinical Council of America, who came to Dubuque Monday to support Rubashkin, said that if he were released, he wouldn't flee because it would be a betrayal of the Jewish community and his faith.
Rubashkin, Agriprocessors and three employees of the meatpacking plant were charged in a 12-count indictment alleging harboring and aiding and abetting illegal immigrants, identity theft and bank fraud.