The Aaron Schock corruption scandal took a new turn on Tuesday, with his lawyers claiming the involvement of an informant in the matter. The latest court filing from the former Republican’s side stated that a junior staffer worked as a “confidential informant” for the government to leak Schock’s internal information.
In the latest court filing, Aaron Schock’s attorneys claimed that the informant was placed in the ex-Republican’s Peoria office to help the FBI build a stronger criminal case against him. The court document alleged that the staffer-cum-informant used to record Schock and steal several documents illegally to ensure the government could have control over the official premises as well as official activities.
After facing multiple corruption allegations in 2015, Aaron Schock resigned the same year in March; he was indicted in 2016. Schock has claimed in the new court filing that the government enlisted a junior staffer in his office as a confidential informant for the FBI only a day after he resigned from Congress.
“(T)he government met with their new CI almost daily to provide instructions, receive documents or other items the (informant) seized, discuss ‘scenarios,’ equip him with the recording device, and debrief him after completion of a monitoring and recording session,” the court filing stated.
The defense lawyers requested the court to give them some more time to collect details relating to the situations under which the informant recorded the Congressman, passed documents and other information to federal agents while the accused still held his position in Congress. The lawyers also asked authorities to dismiss the indictment on prosecutorial misconduct, in addition to other factors.
In November 2016, Aaron Schock faced 24-count indictment because of his alleged usage of taxpayers’ and campaign funds for personal purposes. He allegedly used the money for a personal trip to a Bears game via a charter plane, in addition to several other alleged trips. The indictment accused him of wire fraud, mail fraud, the filing of false federal income tax returns, stealing government funds, making false statements, and falsifying election commission filings.
The Aaron Schock indictment also accused the ex-United States Representative of misusing government funds to up to $40,000 to renovate his Washington office into the same style as shown in the Downton Abbey series. Though the Republican denied the claims, he repaid the government later on.
From the very beginning, Schock and his attorneys have maintained the politician’s innocence. The defense has always insisted on the matter being politically-driven. Schock said that he made honest mistakes and his intentions were never to violate the law.
“I am forced to join millions of other Americans who have sadly concluded that our federal justice system is broken and too often driven by politics instead of facts,” a statement from Schock read. “Unlike some politicians, I did not delete any emails, nor did my staff smash or destroy any electronic devices.”
With the Tuesday’s court filing bringing into focus the use of a confidential informant, the case has a new facet. Former federal prosecutor Jeff Cramer, who is not connected to the Aaron Schock matter, said that it has been a common step to place an informant in public corruption scandals. However, whatever is done needs to obey the fine constitutional line.
“The problems may occur when or if this informant crosses the line starts gathering information at the request of law enforcement that he or she should not be looking for,” Fox News quoted him as saying. “When you add a sitting congressman to the calculus it becomes even more fraught with peril.”
The rapid rise of Aaron Schock seemed to give the United States a young and fresh face to represent the Republican Party. He was one of the first choices of GOP candidates as far as raising funds for their political campaigns were concerned. However, the scandalous pattern of the US representative’s political journey has affected his career graph quite adversely.
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