The Supreme Court will not initiate the trial of the former Schock party representative



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Aaron Schock

The accusation of former representative Aaron Schock ran into a series of unusual problems: the prosecution team was removed from the case and passed to several judges. | Seth Perlman, file / photo AP

Legal

By JOSH GERSTEIN

The Supreme Court rejected a request from former representative Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), Aimed at preventing criminal trial for corruption, although one judge did everything possible to warn the court in charge of the case control a sensitive aspect of the charges against Schock.

In an order issued Tuesday morning, the judges rejected Schock's request for the High Court to hear his arguments that the case accusing him of fraud, misrepresentation and theft of public funds was unconstitutional the internal affairs of the legislature.

History continues below

Eight of the judges did not provide any written explanation of the decision dismissing the former congressman's motion, but Judge Sonia Sotomayor filed a two-page statement concordant with her colleagues, while expressing her concern over the one of the issues raised by Schock's lawyers.

Last May, the Chicago-based Chicago Court of Appeal rejected Chicago's efforts to avoid his trial. The judges said that Schock's arguments that the prosecution had violated the protections of the Congressional speech or debate clause of the Constitution were unconvincing.

The Court of Appeal stated that Schock's argument regarding the use of the criminal process to enforce the legislative rules could be dealt with after conviction in the normal appeal process.

Sotomayor said she was troubled by the fact that the 7th circuit felt that the issue could wait after a trial, even though the DC circuit declared in a case involving the late representative Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill. ) That it was possible to appeal this question in advance. of the trial.

"Although this issue does not arise often – probably because criminal proceedings against members of Congress are rare – the delicate questions of separation of powers that arise from such proceedings must be treated in a uniform manner," Sotomayor wrote. by President Barack Obama.

Sotomayor said that it was not clear whether the Schock case "properly poses" this question because only part of the charges seem to relate to the rules of the House and a judge dismissed the count the more directly related to these regulations.

Liberal justice also qualified the government's thesis, noting in a footnote that prosecutors told Circuit 7 that the rules of the House were both "necessary" and "important" for some of the remaining charges.

Sotomayor noted that Schock was free to continue to raise the issue in the trial court and added that the government's arguments before the court of appeal "may be relevant" for future decisions of the trial judge.

Schock resigned in 2015 after a series of reports in POLITICO and elsewhere raising questions about his use of the House's official spending accounts and campaign funds. The following year, he was charged with numerous federal charges, including wire and mail fraud, false federal tax returns, deceiving the Federal Election Commission, misrepresentation and theft of public funds.

Schock's charge met with a series of unusual difficulties: the prosecution team was removed from the case and the case went to several judges.

While the former congressman was indicted in Springfield, Illinois, the Ministry of Justice replaced the local federal prosecutor in charge of the case after defense lawyers and a judge complained of the conduct. of the government lawyer.

The case was eventually handed over to federal prosecutors in Chicago.

Sue Meyerscough, a Springfield-based federal judge, recused the case in 2017 because of indications that Schock was involved in discussions regarding his appointment.
The Urbana-based judge who took the case, Colin Bruce, was dismissed from last year after being stricken from all criminal cases due to inappropriate e-mail discussions on an ongoing case with a former clerk connected to the US Attorney's Office.

All other judges in the central district of Illinois apparently begged for the case, which resulted in his reassignment last August to Judge Matthew Kennelly in Chicago. He set the date of the trial to June 10.

The Schock defense team did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday on the Supreme Court's action.

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