Appeals Court Declines to Toss Out Schock Charges

Former Illinois congressman faces July 10 trial date

UNITED STATES - JUNE 8: Former Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., appears on the House floor after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress, June 8, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 8: Former Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., appears on the House floor after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress, June 8, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Posted May 31, 2018 at 9:04am

A federal appeals court declined Wednesday to dismiss criminal charges against former Illinois Republican Rep. Aaron Schock.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause does not help him.

Schock resigned in March 2015 after it was revealed he spent government and campaign funds for personal use.

Perhaps the most infamous expense was having his office redecorated to look like the television show “Downton Abbey.”

Schock was later indicted for mail and wire fraud, filing false tax returns and making false statements to the Federal Election Commission.

The former Illinois Republican congressman tried to get his charges thrown out, with his lawyers saying Schock was protected by the Speech and Debate Clause.

While that traditionally protects lawmakers from prosecution for what they say on the floor of Congress, the lawyers argued, it also applies to conduct or speech that is addressed to the House’s interpretation or application of certain rules.

“On the merits, however, the Speech or Debate Clause does not help Schock, for a simple reason: the indictment arises out of applications for reimbursements, which are not speeches, debates, or any other part of the legislative process,” the court wrote.

Schock’s lawyer, George Terwilliger, said he was disappointed in the court’s ruling, the Chicago Tribune reported.

“As we continue to contend in court, the charges are the result of a determination to indict in spite of the true facts, not because of them,” he said.

Schock has pleaded not guilty in his case, and his jury trial date is set for July 10.

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