"I don't know enough about the case to know whether he's completely innocent, but I can tell you this: The sentence was utterly disproportionate. You cannot explain that sentence based on the facts of the case. I don't care how harsh a judge she is. She's never sentenced anybody like this for a comparable crime."
In a new interview with the Jewish Press, Alan Dershowitz talked about Chabad and about the case of convicted felon Sholom Rubashkin:
…In the [novel Dershowitz just published], you seem to imply that followers of religious leaders such as the Lubavitcher Rebbe are somehow irrational or not using their critical faculties. Is that what you believe?
No, I certainly don't believe that. I'm the faculty adviser at Chabad at Harvard and I'm a tremendous admirer of Chabad. They do phenomenal work. I don't believe that at all. You can't put in my mouth everything that every character spouts.
The point I made about Lubavitch is that a lot of these actors in Hollywood immediately jump on the Lubavitch bandwagon without understanding a thing about Judaism or Lubavitch. I was thinking of a particular person I know in Hollywood, a fairly well known actor, who has just given up his critical faculties.... Tomorrow he'll be abandoning that and going to some ashram in India. It's not real for some people. That's my point.
You have been critical of the 27-year sentence Sholom Rubashkin recently received. Do you see him as a victim of anti-Semitism or as someone who simply was unlucky to have a stern judge presiding over his trial?
I don't know enough about the case to know whether he's completely innocent, but I can tell you this: The sentence was utterly disproportionate. You cannot explain that sentence based on the facts of the case. I don't care how harsh a judge she is. She's never sentenced anybody like this for a comparable crime.
So I don't know whether it was anti-Semitism or anti-Easternism or anti-New Yorkism or anti-outsiderism, but it was anti-something. And it can't be explained on principles of justice. The sentence was way, way out of proportion to anything that was proved in the case.…
Dershowitz is either very ill-informed or he's lying.
Any review of Judge Reade's sentencing shows she regularly sentences within the US Sentencing Guidelines, which means recent white collar offenders will be harshly sentenced, because the Guidelines for sentencing white collar crime have gotten progressively more harsh of the past decade.
Indeed, Rubashkin's attorneys initially tried to have the trial moved to a different jurisdiction in large part because of Judge Reade's history of closely adhering to the US Sentencing Guidelines, which meant that Rubashkin would get a long sentence when convicted – which his attorneys certainly knew he would be given the massive evidence against him.
And do not forget that through all of this, Rubashkin refused to cooperate with prosecutors and law enforcement, meaning he bought no good will with his actions.
Past that, Dershowitz is ignoring Rubashkin's related crimes – obstruction of justice, perjury, aiding and abbetting the flight of a fugitive, harboring illegal aliens for profit, bribing a public official, etc.
All of these crimes impacted how Rubashkin was viewed by the court, and all of them legally could have been factored in to add to Rubashkin's sentence.
Instead, Judge Reade chose not to do that except for one crime – the perjury Rubashkin committed in her courtroom. For that, she added two years to Rubashkin's 25 year base sentence.
The US Sentencing Guidelines called for a sentence of 23 to 30 years for Rubashkin's financial crimes. Judge Reade gave him 25 years, seven less than she could have.
What Dershowitz will not say is that the problem lies primarily with the Sentencing Guidelines.
Judge Reade could have departed from those guidelines if she wanted to. But she chose not to just as she almost always chooses not to.
For that, one can raise issues including Judge Reade's apparent lack of compassion.
But there is no evidence I'm aware of that indicates in any significant way that Judge Reade would have given Sholom Rubashkin a 27 year sentence if the US Sentencing Guidelines called for a 12 year sentence.
Dershowitz and other Rubashkin hacks will not admit this because to admit it means Rubashkin will in all likelihood be stuck in federal prison for a very long time.
Instead, they manufacture bias where there is none and make sleazy insinuations of antisemitism. In their eyes, lying about a federal judge or other officers of the court is permissible in order to 'rescue' Sholom Rubashkin.
The Jewish community should strongly reject the behavior of Dershowitz, Lewin and Chabad. At the same time, it should lobby for reform of the US Sentencing Guidelines and for more humane prisons.
And, if it chooses, it can also lobby the White House for a commutation of Rubashkin's sentence.
Do not forget that Rubashkin was offered a plea bargain that would have given him a 12 year sentence. He reused it even though the evidence aginst him was overwhelming and even though he knew Judge Reade would otherwise sentence him under the US Sentencing Guidelines.
I don't like the bed Sholom Rubashkin is in, but it is a bed of his own – and his family's – making.
To pretend otherwise does an injustice to the US legal system, to the Jewish community, and to those who truly may have been unjustly convicted.