by Sandy Eller – VIN News
Over 100 prominent individuals have signed on a letter accusing prosecutors of misconduct in the Rubashkin trial and calling on U.S. Attorney Kevin Techau to correct the “miscarriage of justice” that occurred during the Rubashkin proceedings.
According to reports in the Des Moines Register, the letter was signed by many heavyweights including former Department of Justice officials, FBI officials, federal judges, state attorneys general and law professors.
Among those who signed on the four page later dated April 19th are former attorneys general John Ashcroft, Ramsey Clark, Edwin Meese and Michael Mukasey, former acting attorney general Stuart Gerson, former FBI directors Louis Freeh and William Sessions, former senator Joe Lieberman, former Massachusetts governor and assistant attorney general William Weld, former New York City mayor and prosecutor Rudy Giuliani and former solicitor general Kenneth Starr who led ethics investigations into former president Bill Clinton.
The letter came just weeks after Rubashkin’s defense team presented new evidence accusing prosecutors of improperly interfering with the sale of the Postville, Iowa Agriprocessors plant, depressing the price by millions, a factor that ultimately led to the lengthy 27 year prison sentence imposed, as previously reported on VIN News.
While the letter may be heavy on support from notable figures, previous attempts to use big names to sway the U.S. Attorney’s office to reconsider Rubashkin’s sentence have failed. A 2012 attempt to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal in the case signed by more than 80 former federal judges failed.
“There’s nothing to be lost by trying but it hasn’t worked so far,” said Professor Laurie Levenson of Loyola Law School, a former federal prosecutor who was well acquainted with the Rubashkin case. “Unless they come up with new facts. That’s really the important thing. Not that you have big names, but that you have facts and law on your side.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Young declined to discuss the claims outside of the filing. Prosecutors have until May 20th to respond to the allegations of wrongdoings by Rubashkin’s legal team who say that had federal prosecutors not been involved in the sale of the business, it would have fetched a significantly higher price which would have resulted in Rubashkin receiving an approximately three year sentence.
Rubashkin, a first time offender and a 51-year-old father of 10, has already served almost seven years in prison of what is essentially a life sentence.
A separate letter written on April 8th by former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa James Reynolds slammed prosecutors for their attempts to exclude any members of the Rubashkin family from purchasing the business.
“Had this kind of unfair, underhanded and unnecessary misconduct occurred during my tenure, you can be absolutely certain that the perpetrators would have faced consequences, the very least of which would have been the loss of their job,” wrote Reynolds.
Professor Jeffrey Bellin of William and Mary Law School expressed doubt that the letter would produce the desired results.
“No matter how well known the signatories, I don’t think a letter directed to the United States attorney will by itself change any minds,” said Bellin. “The federal prosecutors handling the case likely understand the applicable law and the factual allegations as well as anyone.”