Sholom Rubashkin's attorney Nathan Lewin was on Zev Brenner's Talkline show tonight.
Lewin repeatedly misstated or misrepresented details of the case and otherwise behaved reprehensibly with regard to the facts.
One of my favorite Lewinisms was his claim that top legal experts had filed affidavits in support of Rubashkin's case. What he failed to tell listeners is that those paid experts used a legal trick to sign them.
They certified that they were giving their opinion based on the information given to them by Rubashkin's legal team – not by reviewing any of the primary documents themselves.
This allowed these paid experts to offer opinions in support of Rubashkin that would not have easily been issued if said experts were personally responsible for the information they based their opinion on.
This type of flim-flam and smoke and mirrors is what much of Rubashkin's defense is made up of.
The best example of that tonight took place when Zev asked Lewin my two questions:
1. Rubashkin did more than simply borrow more money against a line of credit than he was allowed to. He lied about his collateral and assets and laundered money through religious charities he controlled to do it. He falsified invoices and inventories. He deceived, lied and cheated in order to get that money. And when the loans were called in, the collateral used to guarantee them largely did not exist. The lenders lost more than $26 million. Those are the facts in evidence. Why do you not state them accurately?
2. Nothing in the documents about the meetings between the judge, ICE and prosecutors shows anything other than the judge trying to make sure that a remote courtroom would be able to handle 600 prosecutions of undocumented workers, including having internet capability, defense attorneys, etc. in place. There is no proof that the judge knew what company was the target of the raid, and the raid was directed at undocumented workers – not at bank fraud. Yet you continue to claim otherwise. Please specifically cite what in those documents proves my statements to be incorrect.
Lewin admits that Rubashkin did indeed run money through religious charities to pump up his accounts receivable, etc., but dismisses that with the qualification that Rubashkin only did it to be able to borrow more money from the banks.
Leaving aside the issue of whether Rubashkin's money laundering was only for that purpose (it probably wasn't), it is still money laundering. And using that money laundering to deceive a lender is bank fraud.
Lewin spoke about what would have been a two year sentence years ago when he was a prosecutor without telling listeners that after the Enron scandal, the United States Sentencing Commission changed its guidelines so that white collar criminals now get much stiffer sentences than they used to get.
He also claimed that the only reason the lenders lost money is that the government would not allow Agrigrocessors to be sold out of bankruptcy to buyer who had offered more than enough money to cover the debts.
As usual with Lewin, what his says is kind of true – but its also false.
The government wanted to seize Agriprocessors through forfeiture as a business that was a criminal enterprise. Agriprocessors qualified as that, and that forfeiture would have happened if the supervisor of the bankruptcy trustees in that federal district hadn't convinced the US Attorney that seizing Agriprocessors would destroy Postville. He negotiated a compromise with the US Attorney which barred any relative or associate of Sholom Rubashkin, Aaron Rubashkin and the rest of the family from buying the company.
Back to Lewin's claim.
The first bid for Agriprocessors was made by an Israeli firm. It was for $40 million. But it withdrew the bid after realizing that the company's books were in such disarray, there was no way to tell if Agriprocessors was worth the money.
The next bids came in at about $20 million. If memory serves, both were rejected because of who the bidders were.
Eventually, the company was sold for about $8 million. Now called Agri Star, it is reportedly doing poorly.
On the day the loans were called in, Agriprocessors' collateral was worth much less than the amount the company owed to the banks.
The point of having collateral for a loan is that if you can't pay, the lender can take that collateral, sell it and get his money back.
In Agriprocessors' case, a lot of the collateral was fraudulent, so when the lenders tried to recoup their money, they couldn't. They lost almost $27 million dollars.
To the second question, Lewin repeated a 'quote' he has repeatedly mis-attributed to Judge Reade. (Please see the 3:00 pm update on this post, and then here for what are only two of many examples.) But as I was the first to show, the documents Lewin relies on for that quote do not attribute it to her. In fact the document in question does not even contain a quote from the judge. It is simply a summary of meeting written by an ICE agent.
I'm not going to take the time to go through each of Lewin's misrepresentations point-by-point. I've exposed all of them previously. Just search FailedMessiah.com for any of the points Lewin made and you should get enough information to show your how he's deceiving you.
Lewin has no honest defense for Rubashkin. So he deceives.
What he has done is shameless and disgusting.
One thing will set Rubashkin free – a challenge of the sentencing guidelines.
But that is exactly what Lewin and Rubashkin's supporters have refused to do.
That's in part because it's hard to raise money on the idea that a crook who committed the sheer number of crimes Rubashkin committed should be the poster boy for sentencing reform.
Rubashkin should not be incarcerated for 27 years.
But he should not be incarcerated for only 2 or 3 or 4 years, either. He headed a conspiracy to commit an elaborate, ongoing bank fraud using money laundering and other crimes to do it. He also repeatedly perjured himself and obstructed justice. Those aren't 6 year crimes, but they might be 12 or 15 year crimes. And that is what the sentencing guidelines should be modified to.
Here's audio of Lewin and Brenner. Please click the gray bars to listen: