Judge agrees to review in Rubashkin case
By GRANT SCHULTE, Des Moines Register
A federal judge agreed today to allow an outside review of the confidential grand jury hearing that led to charges against a former Postville slaughterhouse executive.
The decision was a victory for Sholom Rubashkin, a former vice president at Agriprocessors Inc. who faces 97 federal charges for alleged bank fraud, immigration-related crimes and other offenses.
Defense lawyers plan to call University of Iowa psychology professor Mollie W. Marti as an expert witness at a hearing about whether “improper testimony and conduct” influenced a federal grand jury’s decision to indict Rubashkin last year. Defense lawyer Guy Cook said Marti is a trained lawyer, psychologist and expert on juries.
U.S. District Judge Linda Reade said she will allow Marti to review the material, but prevented her from disclosing the contents or reviewing any related motions filed by Rubashkin’s legal team.
Prosecutors had sought to keep the grand jury transcripts private. “Such disclosure would be inappropriate in this case — certainly at this stage,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Deegan . Prosecutors have “serious questions regarding the value of any expert testimony on the issue — particularly testimony from the expert proposed by the defendant.”