Defense Team: Ex-Rep. Aaron Schock Is Being Indicted
Aaron Schock's defense team says it's been told that the former Illinois congressman is being indicted by a federal grand jury. Schock's attorney, George Terwilliger, calls the expected charges a "misuse'' of prosecutorial power by the Justice Department. Federal prosecutors in Illinois were expected to announce charges later Thursday.
Schock, a 35-year-old Republican from Peoria, had been under investigation after a spending scandal that included the elaborate remodeling of his Capitol Hill office in the style of the television series "Downton Abbey.'' He resigned last year from the House of Representatives.
In a statement obtained by The Associated Press, Schock says he never intentionally did anything wrong and that he's eager to defend his name and reputation.
He says his case shows that "our government cannot be trusted.''
UPDATE 2:30 PM
The grand jury indictment against Schock accuses the former Illinois congressman of spending $40,000 in government funds to redecorate his Washington office - including the purchase of a $5,000 chandelier.
The U.S. attorney's office in Springfield announced the 24-count, 52-page indictment on Thursday. The 35-year-old Republican from Peoria had been under investigation after a spending scandal that included the remodeling of his Capitol Hill office.
Other allegations include that Schock "fraudulently'' asked the House to reimburse him for nearly $30,000 worth of camera equipment.
Schock held a press conference Thursday with his attorneys, before anything had been filed. Schock says the 24-count indictment is manufactured by the justice department.
“I intend to not only fight to prove these allegations false, but in the process, expose this investigation for what it was," he said. "Neither I nor anyone intentionally did anything wrong.”
the former congressman's defense team portrays Schock as a victim. Attorney George Terwilliger calls the allegations “made-up.”
“Criminalizing a handful of administrative mistakes, a few of the thousands of transactions from Aaron’s six years in office," he said. "To charge Mr. Schock two days after a national election, has all the appearances of a politically-calculated ambush.”
The indictment also says Schock received mileage payments from the House and his campaign committees of nearly $140,000 for official and campaign-related travel between 2008 and October 2014.
But it says that amounts to reimbursements for 150,000 miles more than his vehicles were actually driven.