Rubashkin seeks delay of today's Agriprocessors child labor trial
By JEFF REINITZ • Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier
WATERLOO - Trial for officials at the former Agriprocessors meatpacking plant is scheduled to start today at the Black Hawk County Courthouse.
But one of the defendants, former CEO Sholom Rubashkin, has asked the judge to delay trial, according to court officials.
He is currently awaiting sentencing on federal fraud and money laundering charges. His sentencing hearing started last week in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids, but the federal judge said she won't announce the punishment until May 27.
The requested delay for the state child labor trial will be addressed during a hearing this morning, as will other pretrial motions.
If the trials proceeds, jury selection will begin at 1:30 p.m.
Other defendants include his father, Abraham Aaron Rubashkin; Agriprocessors Inc. as a company; and human resources employees Elizabeth Millmeyer [sic – should be Billmeyer], Laura Althouse and Karina Freund.
Each faces about 9,000 counts of misdemeanor child labor law violations.
Beef production supervisor Jeffrey Heasley will be tried separately.
Authorities allege minors were able to work with toxic chemicals and dangerous machinery at Agriprocessors in Postville.
The defense said the workers submitted false dates of births to get hired.
Defense attorneys also allege state Division of Labor investigators knew about minors and the plant but refused to identify them to company officials, so plant officials couldn't fire them.
Company officials had other terminated underage workers they found at the plant in the past, according to records filed by the defense.
The plant was raided by federal officials in May 2008 because of concerns about undocumented immigrants working there.
I'd guess Rubashkin is claiming he and his defense team were preoccupied with the federal trial and did not have adequate time to prepare for the state trial.