PEORIA — The Urbana-based federal judge in the public corruption case against former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock has been removed from that case and dozens of others after it was learned the judge had talked to a member of the U.S. Attorney's office while a trial was in progress.

U.S. District Judge Colin Bruce has been removed from Schock's case and anything else where the government is a party. That includes all criminal matters and post-conviction hearings as well as anything that could involve the government in a civil matter.

It's not clear how long the removal will last, or what the impact would be on Schock's case, which still has motions awaiting a hearing.

"This court is temporarily reassigning all cases in which the United States is a party that are pending before Judge Bruce,” said Chief U.S. District Court Judge James Shadid when reached via email. Shadid is the chief judge of the Central District of Illinois which covers courthouse in Peoria, Springfield, Urbana and Rock Island.

Bruce had been with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Springfield for more than two decades before he was nominated to the federal bench in 2013 by then-President Barack Obama.

Earlier this week, the Illinois Times reported Bruce had emailed a former colleague in the U.S. Attorney's Office and criticized both the defendant and federal prosecutors during a trial in 2016. Such communications are strongly discouraged as they could give the appearance of bias or impropriety. The Times first reported Bruce's removal Friday afternoon.

Schock isn't Bruce's only high profile case. He was also the judge in the case of Brendt Christensen, a former University of Illinois student who is accused of both kidnapping and killing a Chinese citizen. That case was also reassigned, Shadid said.

The office of the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois had no comment. Schock's defense team also had no comment.

Andy Kravetz can be reached at 686-3283 and akravetz@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @andykravetz.