Rubashkin defense team says Judge Reade helped prep for raid - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Rubashkin defense team says Judge Reade helped prep for raid


CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -- The legal defense team for Sholom Rubashkin says Judge Linda Reade should have recused herself from the trial because she helped law enforcement prepare for the raid.

According to the team, documents they received in response to a Freedom of Information Act request show that Judge Reade should have been legally disqualified from presiding over Rubashkin's federal trial because she met frequently with the law enforcement team that was planning the May 2008 raid on Agriprocessors and she participated in the preparations for the raid.

Rubashkin's team claims that Judge Reade was required to disclose these meetings to defense lawyers, but never did. They add that evidence shows Reade received regular briefings on the raid preps for more than six months before it happened and expressed her support for the raid.

"Without disclosing to defense counsel her meetings with the U.S. attorney and the support she expressed for the raid, she presided at Mr. Rubashkin's trial, and then immediately had him imprisoned, and sentenced him to two years more in prison than the prosecution requested," Nathan Lewin, lead appellate counsel for Sholom Rubashkin, said. "Under the legal standard that the Supreme Court has established she would be disqualified and that means because she would be disqualified and that the entire trial get wiped out and we go back to square one."

Because of this new information, Rubashkin's attorney's have filed a motion for a new trial and are asking that Reade's verdict and her decision to deny Rubashkin's release on bail be vacated.

The government documents and e-mails were provided to Rubashkin's counsel after the trial concluded, although their Freedom of Information Act request was filed in February 2009, more than eight months before his trial began. The government did not initially respond to repeated letters and calls from Rubashkin's counsel seeking the FOIA documents, and Rubashkin's attorneys eventually sued the Department of Homeland Security to procure the information.

Rubashkin's legal team says the documents show that Reade began meeting with the U.S. Attorney's Office in October of 2007, and gave her vacation schedule to the law enforcement team so that the raid would meet her "scheduling needs."

They also say documents show that Reade participated in a March 2008 meeting that discussed "an overview of charging strategies, numbers of anticipated arrests and prosecutions, logistics, the movement of detainees, and other issues related to the [Agriprocessors] investigation and operation."

They say that in one e-mail, Reade requested a "final game plan" be sent to her about one month before the raid.

"The failure to fully disclose the participation and involvement with the prosecutors and planning for the raid and prosecution raises serious questions about due process that Rubashkin received and judicial ethics," said Rubashkin attorney, Guy Cook.

Rubashkin was sentenced in June to 27-years in prison for bank fraud and related charges even though Prosecutors only asked for a 25-year prison term.

We contacted Judge Reade for a comment on the allegations but were told by staff they do not comment on pending cases.

Content Producer: Eric Page
Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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