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President Trump just commuted his first sentence - here's what we know

22 December 2017

Videos showed participants praising President Trump and proclaiming Rubashkin's early release on Chanukah as a positive sign for the world.

The 57-year-old father of 10 submitted fake invoices to a bank that made Agriprocessors' finances appear healthier than they were so that it could borrow more.

Trump has yet to make expansive use of his clemency powers, which is in line with his recent predecessors, who granted few, if any, pardons and commutations in the opening periods of their presidencies. He ran the Iowa headquarters of a family business that was the country's largest kosher meat-processing company. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided the plant in May 2008 and arrested almost 400 Mexican and Guatemalan immigrants who were living and working in the country illegally.

An influential kosher slaughterhouse king from Brooklyn, New York, was freed from prison after his fraud conviction was commuted by President Donald Trump, according to a report. US federal Judge Linda Reade hit Rubaskin with a sentence of 27 years, two more than prosecutors had requested.

"Mr. Rubashkin has now served more than 8 years of that sentence, which many have called excessive in light of its disparity with sentences imposed for similar crimes", President Trump's announcement noted, reflecting deep resentments over the exceptionally harsh sentence in the Jewish community as well as in the legal community at the time of the trial. The commutation does not vacate Rubashkin's conviction and leaves in place a parole term and restitution obligation.

Trump has used his pardon power just once so far: to spare former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio the prospect of serving jail time by wiping away a federal conviction stemming from immigration patrols that focused on Latinos.

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Rubashkin was convicted in a fraud case in 2009, and was sentenced to 27-years in prison.

Prosecutors argued in response that it was Rubashkin's "criminal conduct" that drove down the sale price of the company, not interference by prosecutors.

Trump also pointed to bipartisan expressions of support for review of the case from over 100 former high-ranking U.S. Justice Department officials, prosecutors, judges and legal scholars. Additionally, more than 30 current Members of Congress have written letters expressing support for review of Mr. Rubashkin's case.

Despite six amicus briefs joined by numerous legal heavyweights, the Supreme Court in 2012 denied a petition from Rubashkin to look into his case and sentencing.

Sholom Rubashkin was facing a 27-year sentence that members of both parties said was too long.

"The outrage is backwards", he said.

President Trump just commuted his first sentence - here's what we know