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Former Iowa plant manager wants charges dismissed

By Staff | Feb 10, 2009

DES MOINES (AP) – The former manager of a kosher slaughterhouse wants a federal judge to dismiss nearly 100 counts against him, and if not, to allow him to be tried separately on some of the charges.

In motions filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids, Sholom Rubashkin asked the court to dismiss the 97 charges against him, arguing that the grand jury that returned an indictment was biased.

”Improper testimony and conduct substantially infected the grand jury’s decision to return an indictment against Defendant Rubashkin,” his attorney, Guy Cook, argued in the motion.

Rubashkin, former manager of the Agriprocessors Inc. plant in Postville, faces multiple immigration and bank fraud charges. A 99-count indictment against him and four other defendants followed a May 12 immigration raid at the northeast Iowa plant that resulted in the arrest of 389 people, most of them Guatemalan and Mexican nationals.

Cook said arguments for dismissing the charges are discussed in a separate brief, however, he has moved to have that documents sealed because it makes references to grand jury proceedings, which are secret under federal law.

Cook also argued in court records that trying his client on all 97 counts would violate federal court rules and be ”severely prejudicial to Sholom Rubashkin’s right to a fair trial.”

He asked that the immigration and bank fraud charges, as well as charges of violating a US Agriculture Department order regarding the sale of cattle, be handled through three separate trials.

An additional request Cook makes is that a charge against another Agriprocessors worker, Hosam Amara, who prosecutors accuse of fleeing to Israel, be tried separately from the other defendants in the case.

”It is too likely that the jury might assume – like the government improperly argued – that, since Hosam Amara fled to Israel, Sholom Rubashkin who is Jewish will flee to Israel as well,” he stated in court records.

The government has previously noted Israel’s Law of Return, which offers every Jew – with certain restrictions – the right to emigrate to Israel and get citizenship there.

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