PEORIA — As expected, the Aaron Schock federal corruption trial has ground to a halt as the judge in the case officially vacated the Jan. 22, 2018 trial date on Friday.
In a two-line text entry, U.S. District Judge Colin Bruce wrote, "pursuant to the Notice of Appeal, the final pretrial and trial dates previously set by this court are hereby VACATED. This court will reset those dates at a later time. All motions currently pending before this court will likewise be held in abeyance until the case is returned at the conclusion of the appellate process."
On Wednesday, Schock's attorneys appealed a decision from Bruce a week or so ago that threw out two charges but left 22 others when he ruled on Schock's motions to dismiss the case. Schock’s attorneys appealed the order with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago in the hopes it would either override the judge and toss the case completely or send it back for further review.
Motions to dismiss are a common tool used by defense attorneys to challenge the legal basis of the allegations in an indictment. Granting a motion isn’t necessarily a sign that the charges aren’t valid on their merits. Rather, it’s more about how the charges were filed.
Schock, 36, is battling federal fraud and corruption charges that were filed in November 2016. The charges allege a course of conduct that began when Schock, a Peoria Republican, was first elected to Congress in 2008 and continued until October 2015, about six months after he resigned from office.
The vacating of the Jan. 22, 2018 trial is just another twist in a legal battle that began shortly before Schock resigned from office in March 2015. For almost 18 months, he and his team of attorneys sparred with federal prosecutors over subpoenas before two grand juries in a rare public spat over a process that is usually done behind closed doors.