PEORIA — Attorneys for former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock took issue Wednesday with prosecutors' assertion that nothing improper happened with two grand juries that investigated the Peoria Republican.
Less than 24 hours after U.S. Attorney Patrick Hansen told a federal judge that his staff didn't misspeak before the grand juries, Schock's attorney fired back with an 18-page missive that called out Hansen, the entire case and even the Department of Justice.
"This latest filing by the government not only further compounds its prior misrepresentations and misconduct, it distracts from the fundamental purpose of Mr. Schock’s underlying motion: this indictment must be dismissed because the prosecution violated Mr. Schock’s Fifth Amendment rights by repeatedly commenting to the grand jury about Mr. Schock’s decision not to testify," his attorneys summed up their arguments.
A claim that began with a handwritten note from a third-hand party about something overheard at a grand jury proceeding could wind up having a pivotal role in the federal corruption case.
At issue is the allegation that prosecutors improperly discussed Schock, 36, not appearing before the grand jury despite being invited. A person has an absolute right not to testify, and a jury is not to hold that against him or her.
For months, Schock's attorneys have held that prosecutors improperly suggested Schock could have testified but chose not to. The government repeatedly denied that until until recently, when it said yes, it was brought up 11 times. U.S. District Judge Colin Bruce ordered the government to review thousands of pages of testimony to confirm there were no other such misstatements.
In a filing Tuesday by Hansen, the government said the whole thing was a big misunderstanding and it found nothing improper was done. Hansen asked the judge to reconsider a statement regarding improper actions by the prosecutors.
Andy Kravetz can be reached at 686-3283 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @andykravetz.