Trump issues first commuted prison sentence

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President Donald Trump speaks to the media during a Cabinet meeting at the White House December 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. The charges stemmed from a 2008 immigration raid at Agriprocessors, a kosher meatpacking plant in Postville.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday commuted the sentence of former Iowa slaughterhouse executive Sholom Rubashkin, who was convicted of 86 counts of bank fraud in 2009.

In 2011, an appeals court ruled against his petition, and in 2012 The US Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal of that ruling.

"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", read a statement from the White House Wednesday.

With its announcement, the White House enclosed letters from several former U.S. attorneys general and Congress members from both sides of the aisle that raised questions about his conviction or asked that he receive clemency.

The president's action, which is not a presidential pardon, was encouraged by bipartisan leaders.

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Sixteen Republican and 16 Democrat senators and representatives who expressed concerns and supported a review of the case, the statement noted.

Trump's commutation of the sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, 57, marks his first commutation and the second use of his clemency powers since taking office, including his controversial pardon earlier this year of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Reportedly, the President's review of Mr. Rubashkin's case and commutation decision were based on expressions of support from members of Congress and a broad cross-section of the legal community.

In a statement announcing the commutation, White House officials said they had received letters from more than 30 members of Congress, including several members of both parties, supporting an examination of the case.

Rubaskin's lawyers claimed his relatively harsh sentence was the result of prosecutors' meddling in the bankruptcy sale of the Agriprocessors plant.

Reade went on to say that Rubashkin repeatedly tried to "obstruct justice" when his criminal scheme was discovered and never fully accepted responsibility for his wrongdoing. Robert Teig, a former federal prosecutor in Iowa, said that Rubashkin's sentence "was what he earned because of his conduct" and that "it's a sad state when politics are allowed to interfere with the justice system". Trump extolled passage of the tax reform package as it nears, called for an end to the immigration visa lottery and celebrated the repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate included in the tax package.

The father of 10 has long had political support.

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