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Rubashkin denies bribing Postville’s mayor

JTA

April 28, 2010 | 1:55 pm

On the eve of the sentencing hearing for Sholom Rubashkin, his lawyers are denying prosecutors’ claims that the former kosher meatpacking executive bribed the mayor of Postville, Iowa.

Accusations that Rubashkin, the ex-Agriprocessors official, bribed Robert Penrod, Postville’s mayor from 2006 to 2009, are included in sentencing memos filed by prosecutors in Rubashkin’s financial fraud case, according to the Des Moines Register. The Agriprocessors plant in the Iowa town was the site of a federal raid in May 2008.

Rubashkin’s sentencing hearing for his conviction last year on 86 financial fraud charges is set to begin Wednesday in federal court in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Earlier this month, federal prosecutors submitted a sentencing memorandum requesting life imprisonment based on their reading of federal sentencing guidelines. Rubashkin’s attorneys have requested that he be sentenced to no more than six years in prison.

Rubashkin was never charged with bribery, but the presiding judge can take such accusations into account when deciding on a sentence. Rubashkin’s attorneys told the Register that Agriprocessors made a loan to Penrod under duress from the mayor.

Meanwhile, Rubashkin supporters held prayer services on his behalf Tuesday night in cities throughout the country and around the world.

Also Tuesday, six former U.S. attorneys general, in a letter to Linda Reade, the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, criticized prosecutors’ request that Rubashkin be sentenced to life in prison.

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