Agriprocessors prosecution team receives USDA award from Vilsack
Grante Schulte • Des Moines Register blog post
Seven members of the team that prosecuted Sholom Rubashkin and other former employees at Agriprocessors Inc. have won a national award from U.S. Agiculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Vilsack recognized the group with the Secretary’s Annual Honor Award, during a ceremony Tuesday in Washington D.C.
The U.S. Attorney employees were recognized for their work on the Packers and Stockyards violations that took place at the northeast Iowa meat plant.
Prosecutors alleged that Rubashkin violated the act when he ignored an order to pay cattle providers in the time required by law. Rubashkin was convicted of 15 out of the 20 counts during his federal trial in South Dakota.
In past interviews, legal scholars familiar with the U.S. Packers and Stockyards Act said they had never seen the law used to prosecute a criminal case.
The Honors Award is considered the most prestigious accolade given by the USDA, prosecutors said in a statement. The award reflects efforts to revitalize rural communities, conserve national resources, and promote agricultural production.
The winners were assistant U.S. attorneys Matt Cole, Peter Deegan Jr., and C.J. Williams; legal assistant Sali Van Weelden; litigation support specialist Lee C. Meyer; paralegal specialist Maureen Oviatt; and victim-witness specialist Shari Konarske.