Judge denies Rubashkin's request to move trial
BY GRANT SCHULTE • Des Moines Register
A federal judge has again denied a request to move the trial of former Postville slaughterhouse executive Sholom Rubashkin out of Iowa.
Judge Linda Reade today rejected the motion by defense attorneys, but suggested that she could change her mind as the Sept. 8 trial date nears. Reade issued a similar ruling in March, but allowed defense lawyers to renew their request after prosecutors filed new charges against Rubashkin.
“The court declines to presume prejudice and will await (jury selection) before making a final decision as to whether a fair and impartial jury may be seated in the Northern District of Iowa,” Reade wrote in the decision released.
Rubashkin is one of several employees of Agriprocessors Inc. named in a 142-count federal indictment for alleged bank fraud, harboring undocumented workers for profit, document fraud and other crimes. Rubashkin has pleaded not guilty.
Agriprocessors was the site of a raid in May 2008 that led to the arrest of 389 immigrant workers.
Rubashkin’s lawyer, Guy Cook, argued in court papers that pre-trial publicity has tainted the state’s pool of potential jurors. Among the examples he cited were criticisms made by Gov. Chet Culver, newspaper articles with anonymous online comments and radio commentary that cast Rubashkin as a villain.
Defense lawyers had asked Reade to move Rubashkin’s trial to federal courthouses in Chicago or St. Paul, Minn.