Belief Beat

After spending the last two days hearing arguments over the controversial sentencing of Sholom Rubashkin, a Hasidic Jew convicted of fraud related to how he ran Agriprocessors, the now-defunct kosher meat plant based in Postville, Iowa, U.S. District Court Judge Linda Reade announced she will issue her ruling on May 27.

Prosecutors had initially recommended a life sentence, but have now requested a 25-year term, which the defense argues still comes out to life in prison for the middle-aged father of 10. (They suggest a 6-year term instead.) As I reported earlier this month, Rubashkin’s supporters have actively campaigned for a more lenient ruling, and recently produced a letter signed by six former attorneys general, ranging from the Eisenhower to the Clinton administration, suggesting that “a modest number of years” would be more appropriate punishment for the first-time, non-violent offender in this case.

A 2008 raid had found hundreds of undocumented workers at the plant, which led to Rubashkin’s initial arrest and the subsequent financial investigation.The government opted to drop the time-consuming and cost-prohibitive immigration case after the “decisive” fraud conviction, The New York Times explains; Rubashkin and several former Agriprocessors managers still face misdemeanor state charges of child labor violations.

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