A Sioux Falls, So. Dak., jury returned to the courtroom late Thursday afternoon and found former Agriprocessors manager Sholom M. Rubashkin guilty on 86 of 91 possible counts, according to theÂ Iowa Independent.
- Sholom Rubashkin (Photo: Chabad)
The report continues:
Rubashkin, who is the 50-year-old son of company founder and president A. Aaron Rubashkin, was convicted of all possible money laundering and mail, wire and bank fraud charges. He was also convicted on 15 out of 20 counts of failing to provide timely pay to livestock auctions and providers.
The verdict followed nearly a month of testimony and evidence in which the government sought to paint Rubashkin as one, if not the, mastermind in a plot to defraud creditors. The defense team, in contrast, chose to portray Rubashkin as inexperienced, naive and unprepared to serve as day-to-day manager for such a large undertaking as the kosher meatpacking plant in Postville.
Following the lengthy reading of the verdict, Rubashkin was taken into federal custody, and his defense attorney, Guy Cook, pledged to appeal. Rubashkin is expected to return to eastern Iowa next week for sentencing and a possible bail hearing pending appeal. He faces a maximum sentence of more than 1,000 years in prison for the guilty verdicts.
The jury verdicts come 18 months after federal immigration agents raided the kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, and arrested nearly 400 workers.
“I think it’s going to bring a little bit of closure to the people of Postville; that finally some justice is being served,”Â Rev. Paul Ouderkirk, a Catholic priest and one of several local religious leaders who cared for workers after the raid,Â told the Des Moines Register on Thursday evening. “People were waiting, and now they know.”
The newspaper also quoted Paul Rael, a lay pastor at St. Bridget’s Hispanic Ministry, who began working in Postville in 2003:
“I thought, ‘Well, who was directing this plant, who was running this plant?’ (Rubashkin) knew everything that was going on in there. I couldn’t see how he could possibly get away with some of things he was being charged with.”
Rael said he’s hopeful that “the community will gather together and decide that there needs to be a better, if not closer relationship, between the city and a large employer like that. Especially if you hear rumors of certain issues that have circulated for many years.”
Aaron Goldsmith, a former city councilman, an Orthodox Jew and an acquaintance of Rubashkin’s, told the Des Moines Register that he’s disappointed in the verdict.
“I’m not justifying his behavior, but I’m concerned for him and his family and the damage that has been done in town,” said Goldsmith. — Mordecai Specktor