A federal judge on Tuesday said that prosecutors misled the court in the corruption case against ex-Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL), and ordered prosecutors to go back and review all of the documents they’ve submitted to the court for accuracy.
U.S. District Court Judge Colin Bruce said that prosecutors in the case initially denied speaking with members of a grand jury about whether the disgraced former congressman would testify, as Schock’s lawyers had claimed. The prosecution then changed its story more than six months later, the judge noted, admitting that they did discuss Schock’s potential to testify with grand jurors.
“The recent revelation puts this court in a somewhat difficult position as it is now aware that it was misled by the Government,” Bruce wrote in a Tuesday filing. “Unfortunately, this court relied upon, and even quoted, the Government’s inaccurate statement, which it now knows to be false, in a previous order.”
The judge ordered the government to “review all claims and statements made in its current filings to ensure that there are no more false or misleading claims,” as well as to detail to the court any additional false or misleading claims prosecutors have made.
Defense attorneys have made several attempts to dismiss the case against Schock—known as the “Downton Abbey congressman”—since he was indicted in 2016 on 24 counts, including improper use of campaign funds. Schock’s lawyers in March accused prosecutors of improperly turning a former staffer for the congressman into an informant, arguing that allowed prosecutors to obtain information they could not otherwise access. Defense lawyers also argued that prosecutors violated the Constitution’s separation of powers provisions. Then in August, Schock’s lawyers asked the judge to dismiss the charges while accusing prosecutors of inappropriately quizzing witnesses about Schock’s romantic relationships and sexuality, sometimes in front of grand jury members.