A Chasidic New Yorker convicted of 86 counts of fraud and money laundering before being pardoned by Donald Trump is to visit London this month.
Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, who ran the biggest US kosher slaughterhouse before it went bust following a federal raid, was jailed for 27 years in 2009, but had his sentence commuted less than a year after Trump took office.
The 59-year old is the son of Aaron Rubashkin, a wealthy American Orthodox Jew who owned the now-bankrupt Agriprocessors, a slaughterhouse in Iowa that was raided by 900 US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in 2008.
The Postville Raid – the largest in US history – ended with 398 employees arrested, 283 of whom were from Guatemala or Mexico, with 18 underage. Most were charged with being in the country illegally. Sholom Rubashkin was the firm’s chief executive.
After a court convicted Sholom Rubashkin of 86 counts of financial fraud including bank fraud, mail and wire fraud, and money-laundering, and sentenced him to 27 years in prison, prosecutors dismissed the 72 immigration charges against him.
Late in 2007, after lobbying from both Democrats and Republicans, including former Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, Rubashkin had his sentence commuted by Trump, having served eight years.
Now he is due to visit London for five days starting on 17 January, and organisers of his trip say he will give several speeches in Stamford Hill and Golders Green.
“He’s coming here to give inspiration to the community,” said Jewish Community Council director Levi Shapiro. “His message is to be law-abiding business people, to learn from your mistakes, to be true contributors to society, and to make the most of second chances. It’s a strong message to deliver.”
Rubashkin, who has maintained his innocence throughout, has many high-profile supporters, among them leading law professor Alan Dershowitz, who told Jewish News: “In my more than 60-year career, I have never seen such unfair treatment and injustice as in the case of Sholom Rubashkin. I have never seen a more bipartisan, diverse group of people seeking justice than in this case. If I had to narrow it down, there were three things in this case that helped galvanise such overwhelming support: the excessive sentence, the whiff of anti-Semitism and the prosecutorial and judicial misconduct.”