WASHINGTON — Lawyers for former Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., in a battle with federal prosecutors over the production of records, said in a court filing Wednesday that Schock has not “deceptively refused” to turn over documents, strongly denying a government assertion.
At immediate issue in the monthslong fight over documents is the federal government protesting a move by Schock’s legal team that led to a decision by a judge in Springfield to first privately review 72 records out of the 10,000 Schock has turned over to prosecutors.
Schock’s attorneys are arguing that the 72 records, many emails — are “privileged” and should not be given to the prosecutors. In order to be “transparent” — and to stay out of trouble — Schock’s team asked for a judicial review, which was granted on Tuesday.
“Given the volume of the materials, the submission by Mr. Schock of the specific basis for the privilege determinations will be of substantial assistance to the Court,” U.S. District Court Judge Sue Myerscough wrote in her Tuesday order.
Of the 72 documents, 55 are being withheld “as attorney-client privileged communications” which could include information exchanged with public relations consultants who were working for Schock and his lawyers; his campaign staff; and lawyers with the National Republican Congressional Committee.
“For example, in some instances, Mr. Schock and his campaign staff corresponded with counsel regarding campaign finance law issues,” the Schock brief stated. Other records “involve confidential communications between Mr. Schock and counsel regarding Mr. Schock’s personal business dealings.”
Schock’s team argued in the Wednesday brief that the prosecutors, based in Springfield, crying foul was a “baseless and inappropriate accusation” because disagreements over records productions are part of the normal back and forth in cases like this.
“Yet these efforts are met instead with unjustifiable allegations of bad faith” by the Springfield prosecutors.
A grand jury in Springfield has been hearing testimony against Schock since April. Schock quit Congress on March 31. Schock’s downfall was triggered by a February story about his gaudy office redecoration, which raised questions about how he spent taxpayer and campaign money.