Attorneys offer two views of Rubashkin

Prosecutors portrayed Sholom Rubashkin, the former manager at the kosher slaughterhouse Agriprocessors, as a schemer who funneled money through a school and grocery to avoid loan payments, while a defense attorney said he was simply involved with financial transactions he didn’t understand.

The conflicting portraits emerged Oct. 14 in Sioux Falls, S.D., during opening statements in Rubashkin’s federal trial on financial fraud charges.

Rubashkin faces 91 financial charges, including bank fraud, mail and wire fraud and money laundering. He was arrested months after federal agents raided the Postville, Iowa, plant in May 2008, arresting 389 illegal immigrants.

Assistant U.S. Attorney C.J. Williams said Rubashkin paid human resources and accounting employees at the plant more than three times their salaries off the books to conceal alleged fraud.

Defense attorney Guy Cook said Rubashkin was “a kid from Brooklyn” with no business experience when he took over the plant’s operations in the late 1990s. — ap