On Wednesday Trump used his presidential clemency power to commute the sentence of an Iowa meatpacking executive who was convicted of money laundering. The guy was also caught employing nearly 400 illegal immigrants.
On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that Donald Trump commuted the sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, an Iowa kosher meatpacking executive, marking the first time Trump has used this power.
“The decision to intervene on behalf of Sholom Rubashkin, who ran the Iowa headquarters of a family business that was the country’s largest kosher meat-processing company, came at the urging of numerous members of Congress and a long list of high-ranking law enforcement officials, who argued the sentence was far too harsh for a first-time, nonviolent offender.”
The White House said that Trump’s action was “encouraged by bipartisan leaders from across the political spectrum.”
“Rubashkin was convicted in 2009 for submitting fake invoices to a bank that made Agriprocessors’ finances appear healthier than they were so that it could borrow more. His prosecution came after federal authorities raided the plant and arrested 389 illegal immigrants in 2008.”
Rubashkin served eight years of his 27-year sentence.
So far, Trump has only used his pardoning power once when he pardoned the controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio. And the White House is stressing now that Trump didn’t pardon Rubashkin, but instead commuted his sentence which does not vacate Rubashkin’s conviction.
“The White House said the president’s decision to review Rubashkin’s sentence was driven by concerns raised by a bipartisan group of more than 100 former high-ranking law enforcement and Justice Department officials, including multiple former attorneys general, as well as prosecutors, judges, and legal scholars.”
But a former prosecutor and spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of Iowa disagrees. Bob Tieg, who retired in 2011, says that Trump’s decision to commute Rubashkin’s sentence “makes no sense” considering that Trump has repeatedly sworn to be tough on illegal immigration.
“Teig said that every court that looked at Rubashkin’s sentence had concluded it was fair, and suggested that former Justice Department officials and lawmakers who supported leniency were unaware of the facts of the case.
“The outrage is backwards,” he said.”