Federal prosecutors from Springfield deny "outrageous" and "sensational" charges made in legal filings by former downstate congressman Aaron Schock that his sexuality has been a focus of overzealous investigators.
"Defendant Schock's claims are just that - naked claims with inflammatory rhetoric" prosecutors contend in court records.
Ex. Rep Schock (R-Peoria) has alleged prosecutorial misconduct in the criminal case that resulted in charges he used his congressional office and campaign funds for personal travel and other expenses.
Government motions reject Schock's allegations that they were looking into his sex life or engaged in any prosecutorial misconduct. The one-time rising star of the GOP has asked a federal judge to throw out the fraud case against him due to actions by prosecutors. U.S. District Court Judge Colin Stirling Bruce has not ruled on the motion to dismiss.
"We fully agree with Defendant Schock that his sexuality is completely irrelevant in this criminal matter," prosecutors wrote in their federal court filing. "It was not of interest to the government, and the government did not inquire about it."
There were statements made by witnesses concerning Schock's sexuality, prosecutors acknowledge, but they say that was due to gossip and some pubic references about Schock during his time in public life. "Out of the approximately 116 witness interview reports during the investigation and since the indictment, only 4 contain any references to Defendant Schock's sexuality, and those references were initiated by the witness, not by the government" according to prosecutors.
Schock's career was derailed in March 2015 when he resigned from Congress. He was indicted last November by a federal grand jury on 24 felony counts. Prosecutors say he pocketed tens of thousands of dollars in improper mileage reimbursements, camera equipment, and proceeds from the sale of World Series and Super Bowl tickets.
Schock's attorneys have said the alleged theft and fraud was not illegal or was sloppy bookkeeping at worst.
His trial is scheduled to begin on Jan. 22.