WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday rejected an appeal by the former chief executive of a kosher meat packing plant in Iowa who was sentenced to 27 years in prison on charges of financial fraud.
Without comment, the high court refused to consider whether Sholom Rubashkin's sentence was excessive for a first-time, nonviolent offender, and whether he was entitled to a new trial based on evidence of alleged judicial misconduct in the case.
The case had sparked an outcry from members of the legal and Orthodox Jewish communities, who supported Rubashkin's quest for a new trial.
Rubashkin was convicted in 2009 of 86 counts of financial fraud that came to light after a government raid on the former Agriprocessors Inc. plant in Postville, Iowa, in which hundreds of immigrant workers were arrested.
On appeal, Rubashkin argued that he was entitled to a new trial after documents obtained through a freedom of information request allegedly revealed that the trial judge had been involved in planning the government raid.
The 8th U.S. Circuit of Appeals in St. Louis had rejected Rubashkin's request in 2011.
Rubashkin's lawyer, Paul Clement, was not immediately available for comment.
Numerous groups submitted amicus briefs in support of Rubashkin, including 86 former attorneys general at various levels of government, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and a group of 40 legal ethics professors.
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