Lawyers for former Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock, who has been indicted on charges of diverting government and campaign funds to his personal use, say federal investigators asked inappropriate questions during their probe, including whether he’s gay.
The “prosecutor and agents have dug into every aspect of Mr. Schock’s life by any means necessary. No topic has been off limits. The federal government has even delved, repeatedly, into the most intimate details of his life, including repeated inquiries to witnesses into who he has slept with and whether he is gay,” Schock’s legal team said in a memo filed in federal court Tuesday, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Schock, a Republican who resigned from Congress in March 2015, was often the subject of gay rumors, and he has repeatedly said he is not gay. In any case, his lawyers said, questions about his personal life are not relevant to the investigation. Their 92-page filing cited the “government’s inappropriate, irrelevant, and highly prejudicial questioning of witnesses about Mr. Schock’s sexual orientation and romantic relationships.”
“The government’s apparent obsession with Mr. Schock’s sexuality and whether he ‘dated’ Karla Gonzalez [a lawyer in Washington, D.C.] was fueled from the very first conversation with the government’s confidential informant,” the lawyers contended.
Because of this line of inquiry, the charges against Schock should be dismissed, the lawyers argued. If they are not dismissed, no evidence “tainted” by these questions should be allowed in the trial, which is scheduled for January in U.S. District Court in Urbana, Ill., the legal team said.
Schock, who represented a central Illinois district that includes Peoria, was indicted by a federal grand jury last December “for allegedly using campaign and government funds improperly for cars, mileage reimbursements, interior decorating, a charter plane flight to a Bears game and sports tickets he resold for profit,” the Sun-Times notes. His office in Washington was decorated in the style of the TV show Downton Abbey. He is also accused of filing false income tax returns and using false statements and fake invoices to cover up his fraud, according to the paper.
Prosecutors have never said Schock’s sex life had anything to do with the charges against him. A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney for the Central District of Illinois, whose office is prosecuting the case, had no comment on the Tuesday filing, the Sun-Times reports.