By Lynda Waddington, Iowa Independent
Despite offering the court $3.75 million for bail, former Agriprocessors chief executive Sholom Rubashkin will remain in federal custody.
“After having carefully considered all of the evidence and arguments of counsel, however, the court concludes that [Rubashkin] is a serious risk of flight,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Jon Scoles wrote in the detention order this afternoon. “The government has met its burden by a preponderance of the evidence that there is no condition or combination of conditions which will reasonably assure [Rubashkin’s] appearance at the time of trial.”
Rubashkin, who was originally arrested on Oct. 30 on immigration-related federal charges, was released with an ankle tracking device on a $1 million bond. The former executive has been detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Office since his arrest last Friday on bank fraud.
Scoles, in making the decision to keep Rubashkin detained until trial, discussed the “substantial” evidence against Rubashkin as well as discoveries in the Rubashkin home of $20,000 in cash, several silver coins and passports. Scoles also said that Rubashkin’s ties to the community of Postville would become more murky as the Agriprocessors plant continues negotiations with potential purchasers.
Scoles also took into consideration Isreal’s “Law of Return,” which provides citizenship to any Jew and members of his family who express desire to settle in the country.
“At the time of hearing, the government proffered that two supervisors at Agriprocessors fled following the search on May 12, 2008,” wrote Scoles. “It is believed that Hosam Amara, a Muslim with Israeli citizenship, fled to Israel, possibly through Canada.”
Rubashkin presented the court with roughly 275 letters of support from “the Postville area and throughout the nation.” A total of 30 people in Postville indicated they would be willing to pledge their homes’ equity, a total of roughly $2 million, to be used to secure an appearance bond for Rubashkin. Two relatives also told the court they would be willing to offer their homes’ equity, totaling roughly $1.5 million, also to secure a bond. Finally, Rubashkin offered the court an additional $225,000 cash deposit.
The detention order does not specify what will happen in relation to the earlier bond posted by Rubashkin. A trial on the immigration-related charges is scheduled to begin Jan. 20. No trial date has yet been set for the charges of bank fraud.