If this legal 'reasoning' were accepted by the courts, it would give employers carte blanche to abuse and rip off illegal workers – just like Rubashkin allegedly did.
Agriprocessor's ex-exec asks to bar plant workers from testifying
BY GRANT SCHULTE • Des Moines Register
Lawyers for an indicted Postville slaughterhouse executive asked a judge Monday to forbid the use of 32 plant workers as government witnesses because of lies they told to work in the United States illegally and pressure from federal authorities.
The former employees at Agriprocessors Inc. are included on a list of witnesses prosecutors may call in their case against former executive Sholom Rubashkin.
Rubashkin and other managers are scheduled to stand trial next month on 163 charges that include immigrant harboring, bank fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud. Rubashkin's arrest followed a May 2008 immigration raid at his former plant.
Defense lawyers argued in court papers that the immigrants are "incompetent to testify as a matter of law" because of their desires to return home. Prosecutors kept many of the witnesses in the country despite their wishes to return to Guatemala, Mexico and other homelands.
"Most of the individuals entered the country with the hope of making a better life and not with devious intent," said the brief, written by defense lawyers Guy Cook and F. Montgomery Brown. "Each of these individuals, however, disregarded the importance of the truth in favor of personal interest from the moment that they left their homes to come to the United States."
Defense lawyers from the original mass court hearings in Waterloo have said the immigrants were treated humanely by federal agents and given adequate time to consult with their attorneys.
Rubashkin has pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing. Prosecutors have 10 days to respond to the motion in court papers.