DES MOINES (MCT) — Private investigators apparently working on behalf of former Agriprocessors vice president Sholom Rubashkin have been contacting jurors from his bank fraud case and asking them for assistance in a possible appeal, which violates local rules of court, according to a motion filed Friday in federal court.
Acting U.S. Attorney Sean Berry in the motion claims Rubashkin and his attorneys are prohibited to question trial jurors before, during or after a trial concerning their actual jury service without the trial judge’s consent in accordance with the court rules. The government asks Rubashkin to show cause why he shouldn’t be ordered to cease from contacting jurors.
Rubashkin, 51, of Postville, was convicted in 2009 by a jury on 86 federal counts of bank, mail and wire fraud, money laundering and failure to pay livestock providers in a timely manner. The charges stem from a May 2008 immigration raid at the former Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville. Nearly 400 illegal workers were charged. Rubashkin was sentenced in 2010 to 27 years in federal prison.
U.S. District Chief Judge Linda Reade set a hearing on the motion for Friday but Rubashkin’s attorney Paul Rosenberg in Des Moines filed a continuance Tuesday because of a Jewish holiday, Sukkot. The holiday prevents Rubashkin from participating in a hearing Sept. 20, 26 and 27, according to filing.
The government in a reply stated it will leave the date for the hearing up to the discretion of the court.
Iowa State Bar Association President Guy Cook said the hearing will allow the defendant to present specific evidence in support of his position.
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