Belief Beat

Today’s scheduled federal sentencing on bank fraud charges of Sholom Rubashkin, head of the now-defunct Agriprocessors kosher meat plant in Postville, Iowa, has been postponed until June 22 while his state trial on 83 counts of child labor violations continues.

Many American Jews, particularly the Rubashkin family’s ultra-Orthodox support base, have paid close attention to this story ever since the May 2008 government raid on Agiprocessors — once the country’s largest producer of kosher meat — found hundreds of undocumented workers. The federal charges related to hiring illegal immigrants were dropped after Rubashkin was decisively convicted in the fraud case last fall; officials indicated that pursuing another trial wasn’t worth the considerable time and expense, including keeping hundreds of the undocumented workers around to serve as witnesses, when the fraud conviction already carried a possible life sentence. (In response to protests from the Jewish community and former attorneys general, prosecutors are now requesting a 25-year sentence instead, which Rubashkin’s supporters say still amount to a life sentence for the middle-aged father of 10.)

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier has live coverage of Rubashkin’s state trial.

Check back for updates and share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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