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Lawyers Say Investigators Asked Witnesses About Schock’s Sexuality, Exploits

Ex-Illinois GOP congressman’s legal team says feds overstepped

Former Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock has been indicted on 24 charges regarding his personal finances and misuse of public funds. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Former Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock has been indicted on 24 charges regarding his personal finances and misuse of public funds. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawyers for former Rep. Aaron Schock on Tuesday accused federal investigators of misconduct for asking witnesses about whom the Illinois Republican slept with and if he was gay.

Schock’s defense team filed a memo in court alleging the prosecutor and federal agents “have dug into every aspect of Mr. Schock’s life by any means necessary,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday.

“No topic has been off limits. The federal government has even delved, repeatedly, into the most intimate details of his life,” the memo read.

Last November, a grand jury indicted Schock on 24 criminal charges including fraud and theft of government funds after federal prosecutors had concluded their investigation of the former congressman for misusing public funds.

Schock resigned from Congress in 2015 amid a swirl of allegations of misconduct before the investigation was launched.

Just 27 years old when he was first elected in 2008 to represent Illinois’ 18th District, Schock was the House’s resident reality star for three full terms. He appeared on television programs such as “Top Chef” and was a fixture of the Hollywood online tabloid TMZ, earning the ire of many of his colleagues but the attention of young people. In 2012, he posed shirtless for a Men’s Health cover.

“Obviously, there are people that are going to say, ‘Oh you know, I don’t like that style’ or ‘I don’t think that makes sense,’” Schock told Roll Call in 2012. “But I’m a big believer if you want to change people’s minds or get someone to vote for you, either a voter or a colleague, you’ve got to first get their attention.”

Schock certainly received attention for his efforts, but that attention led to increased media scrutiny that doomed his political career when The Washington Post outed a lavish project Schock undertook to remodel his D.C. office to resemble a set on popular British drama “Downton Abbey.”

Now his lawyers are asking a judge to dismiss the charges against him — or at least ban evidence “tainted” by improper questioning — due to the investigators’ excessive zeal in uncovering aspects of Schock’s personal life they say don’t pertain to the case.

“The government has investigated nearly every facet of Mr. Schock’s professional, political, and personal life,” his lawyers said. “This even includes his sex life. It is no secret that there has long been speculative gossip in the media about Mr. Schock’s sexual orientation.”

“For no apparent reason, the government has felt itself compelled to investigate this too. Indeed, from the very inception of this investigation, the government has discussed with witnesses whether Mr. Schock is gay, whether he really ‘dated’ his ex-girlfriend (a highly accomplished diplomat and attorney), and whether he spent the night or shared hotel rooms with her,” the memo read.

“The government’s inquiries into Mr. Schock’s sexuality and romantic relationships were not just distasteful and offensive. They were prejudicial,” his lawyers said.

The court has not made a decision on the requests in the memo.

Schock’s trial is scheduled for January 2018.