PEORIA — Federal prosecutors filed a flurry of motions this weekend blasting former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock's attempts to have his federal corruption case thrown out, saying they are disingenuous and use previously rejected arguments.
In a 25-page response, filed Friday in U.S. District Court, prosecutors say the Peoria Republican's attempts to bar certain witnesses or pieces of evidence should be rejected as they have already been ruled upon by U.S. District Judge Colin Bruce. The filing is just the latest in the more than two-year legal tussle that began shortly after Schock resigned from office in 2015.
Last month, Schock's attorneys filed their own mountain of motions, arguing everything from improper transfer of evidence to not receiving some interviews to prosecutorial misconduct. They had said prosecutors are being overzealous and trying to make a case where there isn't one.
Prosecutors, however, counter they are using the evidence gathered through informants and by going through reams of paper. They also deny any instance of wrongdoing as alleged by Schock's team. And in one of the missives, Schock's team attacked the government for making an issue out of Schock's sexuality, saying it was wholly inappropriate.
Prosecutors agreed that it wasn't an issue in this case and denied making it one.
"Out of the approximately 116 witness interview reports during the investigation and since the indictment, only four contain any references to defendant Schock’s sexuality, and those references were initiated by the witness, not by the government. Defendant Schock’s attempts to attribute misconduct on the part of the government based on an issue that he himself admits pre-dated the grand jury investigation is simply meritless," they wrote in one of the four responses filed Friday and Saturday.
The prosecutors also blasted an argument that the informant's recording of conversations with the former congressmen were improper. Defense attorneys have said the recordings violate Schock's right to privacy.
"This argument, however, which has also been rejected, is nothing more than a declaration of a 'Congressional-super-right-of-privacy.' There is no such thing in our democracy. Accordingly, defendant’s Schock’s new Speech or Debate claim is meritless," countered federal prosecutors in their filing Friday afternoon.
The 36-year-old Schock was indicted last November on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, making false statements, filing a false tax return, theft of government funds and falsification of Federal Election Commission filings. The charges allege a course of conduct that began when Schock was first elected to Congress in 2008 and continued until October 2015, about six months after he resigned from office.
Andy Kravetz can be reached at 686-3283 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @andykravetz.