WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Stuart Levey was given a big stick when the Bush administration made him the first under secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence. But the stick only started to hurt its targets -- terrorist groups and rogue nations -- when he figured out how to soft-talk nations and private businesses into going along.
Levey is that rarity -- a senior government official who has transitioned not just between two administrations, but between two presidents with profound foreign policy differences.
But debate over whether 27-year rap will hold up on appeal.
The 27-year bank fraud sentence imposed Tuesday on Sholom Rubashkin, former manager of what was once the nation’s largest kosher slaughterhouse, was widely viewed by law professors and criminal defense attorneys alike as too severe.
“A sentence of 27 years is beyond excessive, it is patently offensive — especially for a nonviolent crime in a case where the defendant had no prior criminal record,” said noted criminal attorney Ben Brafman, who was not involved in the case.
Former Agriprocessors executive ‘lied at trial,’ pocketed $1.5 million in fraud; defense says sentence ‘overzealous.
A federal judge in Iowa said she plans to sentence Sholom Rubashkin, a former executive at the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Iowa, to 27 years in prison and to pay $31 million in restitution for bank fraud.
Judge Linda Reade, chief judge of the Northern District Court in Iowa, wrote in a 52-page sentencing memorandum that the sentence of 27 years is “sufficient, but not greater than necessary,” to comply with the law.
NEW YORK (JTA) -- The U.S. Department of Justice again has declined to intervene in the sentencing of a convicted kosher meat executive.
Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer wrote in a letter Monday that concerns about the sentencing of former Agriprocessors executive Sholom Rubashkin were best raised with the presiding judge in northern Iowa, Linda Reade, or with local federal prosecutors.
Peering out at the reporters and TV cameras clamoring around the entrance of his religious girls school in Brooklyn last week, Rabbi Hertz Frankel's mind raced as they demanded he comment on his crime. It was a serious crime, a federal felony involving no-show teachers, fund diversions, false job titles and clear breaches of the separation of church and state. It was one Frankel had quietly pleaded guilty to the previous week.
Declaring that New York State's kosher laws excessively entangle government with religion, a Brooklyn federal judge has struck down the 118-year-old statutes as unconstitutional.
Orthodox kosher law advocates immediately said they would appeal the July 28 decision by U.S. Eastern District Court Judge Nina Gershon, who ruled in favor of a Commack, L.I., butcher whose 1996 lawsuit claimed that the state's kosher laws violated church-state separation.
A prominent mock trial competition is a mockery this year, some voices in the Jewish community say.
The Anti-Defamation League, prominent Washington attorney Nathan Lewin and several Jewish newspapers have protested the recent decision by the National High School Mock Trial Championship not to accommodate the Shabbat requirements of a Boston day school that qualified for the 2009 competition, which was held this week in Atlanta.
Rabbi Mahir Reiss, a respected Brooklyn businessman and Orthodox Jewish philanthropist credited with resolving international Jewish religious disputes, was sentenced to 27 months and fined $6.3 million for his role in an international money-laundering scheme involving a Colombian drug ring. In handing down the sentence, U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein on Wednesday based his decision on whether the 48-year-old Reiss knew that the illegal money he was laundering involved drugs. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee Dunst contended Reiss knew.
As liberal groups hope bank fraud conviction leads to better business practices, Orthodox ones question zeal of prosecution.
Sholom Rubashkin, the manager of the now-infamous Agriprocessors kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa, has only completed one of two federal trials, and already — barring a successful appeal — he is looking at a life in prison.
The prospect of such severe punishment — for a man who many credit with making affordable kosher food available in previously underserved markets and for contributing generously to tzedakah, particularly to the Chabad community — has some Orthodox Jews complaining that the kosher meat tycoon is more victim than criminal.
At the same time, liberal Jewish groups that have been critical of the company’s practices — particularly its alleged mistreatment of workers — are hoping the conviction prompts better business practices in the kosher industry and Jewish nonprofit sector.
The world’s largest kosher slaughterhouse and several other major kosher meat suppliers have been served with federal subpoenas in connection with a criminal antitrust investigation, The Jewish Week has learned.
AgriProcessors of Postville, Iowa, received its subpoena from a federal grand jury several weeks ago. At least two other kosher meat suppliers have also received subpoenas in connection with the probe, according to Washington, D.C., attorney Nathan Lewin, who represents the Iowa slaughterhouse.