PEORIA — Former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock wasn’t being deceptive or difficult when he refused to hand over fewer than 100 documents to federal prosecutors who are poring over his financial records.
Schock’s team of attorneys filed a 21-page response to prosecutors; allegations last week that Schock was trying to circumvent the legal process by choosing to allow only a judge to see the 72 or so documents in question and then asking to submit a memo, again just to the judge, explaining his actions. Schock’s attorneys say that’s not the case and that their client has been more than fair and compliant with a grand jury request for the records.
“To characterize this routine step as somehow a nefarious attempt by Mr. Schock to hide documents is one of the several instances where the (U.S. Attorney’s Office) has resorted to unjustifiable allegations during this ligation,” the memo states.
For months, Schock and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have jostled over what the Peoria Republican should turn over in the wake of a grand jury investigation into the financial dealings of his office. Schock resigned in March amid a growing chorus of people who questioned how his office functioned.
The grand jury investigation still is pending and so far, no charges have been filed against Schock.
Schock’s team did win a small legal battle when U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough ruled the former congressman could submit the documents just to her and notes explaining why he wanted to do so. Usually, all briefs and motions are seen by both sides. Myerscough would have to sign off on such a request.
“Given the volume of the materials, the submission by Mr. Schock of the specific basis for the privilege determinations will be of substantial assistance to the court,” the judge wrote in a short order on Tuesday.
Schock must file a redacted memo into the court file by Monday.
Andy Kravetz can be reached at 686-3283 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @andykravetz.