Sholom Rubashkin was arrested for the first time on October 30, 2008, on a complaint charging him with immigration-related crimes. He was released on severe bail conditions that, to our knowledge, have never been demanded of an employer charged with an immigration violation â€“ a $1 million bond and an ankle bracelet with electronic monitoring.
On November 14, 2008, Appellant was arrested again, this time on bank-fraud charges. The new charges alleged that he had inflated the value of the collateral for the FBBC loan and falsely certified to the bank that Agriprocessors was complying with all laws even though the company was employing undocumented aliens.
The prosecutors opposed release on bail and claimed that since Appellant was Jewish there was a risk he would flee to Israel and could not be brought back because of Israelâ€™s â€œLaw of Return.â€ Indeed, the magistrate judge denied Mr. Rubashkin bail.
Subsequently, the American Defamation League (ADL), American Jewish Congress (AJC) and Agudath Israel of America sent letters to the US Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, protesting this insulting position, which in essence is saying that all Jews are a flight risk. Additionally, a number of distinguished rabbis convened at the Dubuque County Jail to decry this position. They were Rabbi David Zwiebel, Agudath Israel of America; Rabbi Pesach Lerner, National Council of Young Israel; Rabbi Yaakov Wasser, Rabbinical Council of America; Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum, Rabbinical Alliance of America, Igud Horabbonim; Rabbi Moshe Elefant, Orthodox Union and Rabbi Shimon Hecht, National Committee for Furtherance of Jewish Education. It was extremely rare that so many high profile Jewish leaders convene in one place for a cause.
Sholom remained in jail for 76 days until the district judge reversed that decision. In reversing the magistrate judge, the district court emphasized that Mr. Rubashkinâ€™s â€œinvolvement in the community extends beyond Agriprocessors, Inc. to local religious and educational institutions,â€ many of which he had personally â€œfounded.â€ The court also cited Appellantâ€™s â€œhistory of leadership and charityâ€ and observed that the communityâ€™s support for him â€“ which included offers by individuals to pledge their home equity as security for his release â€“ was â€œunprecedented.â€