Daily Egyptian

Schock wants his trial in Peoria’s federal court

Congressman+Aaron+Schock+speaks+to+the+media+as+he+arrives+at+an+immigration+reform+panel+hosted+by+the+Illinois+Business+Immigration+Coalition+Monday%2C+March+9%2C+2015%2C+at+St.+Ignatius+College+Prep+in+Chicago.+Schock+resigned+Tuesday+amid+controversy+over+his+spending+habits.+%28Nancy+Stone%2FChicago+Tribune%2FTNS%29
Congressman Aaron Schock speaks to the media as he arrives at an immigration reform panel hosted by the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition Monday, March 9, 2015, at St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago. Schock resigned Tuesday amid controversy over his spending habits. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Congressman Aaron Schock speaks to the media as he arrives at an immigration reform panel hosted by the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition Monday, March 9, 2015, at St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago. Schock resigned Tuesday amid controversy over his spending habits. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Congressman Aaron Schock speaks to the media as he arrives at an immigration reform panel hosted by the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition Monday, March 9, 2015, at St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago. Schock resigned Tuesday amid controversy over his spending habits. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

By Andy Kravetz | Journal Star, Peoria, Ill.

SPRINGFIELD — Former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock has asked to move his federal corruption trial from Springfield to Peoria.

In a motion filed on Monday, the Peoria Republican claims having the case in Springfield would be overly burdensome. In addition, he says, the case should be tied here as it’s a Peoria matter.

“This case has virtually no connection to Springfield, however, and Peoria is the more convenient and more appropriate division. Not only has Peoria been Mr. Schock’s home for more than 25 years, including the entire period covered by the Indictment and his three-plus terms in office, but he maintained both his principal district office and his campaign headquarters there,” the motion states.

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Schock was indicted earlier this month by a federal grand jury after a 18-month investigation into his office and campaign finances. The charges against Schock allege a course of conduct that began when the Peoria Republican was first elected to Congress in 2008 and continued until October 2015, about six months after he resigned from office.

He faces charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, making false statements, filing a false tax return, theft of government funds and falsification of Federal Election Commission filings. All are felonies that could send him to prison for several years.

In all, it’s alleged that he stole from the government and his campaign committees more than $100,000.

Schock’s attorney claim they asked prosecutors to move the case to Peoria before filling the request but were refused. The only reason, they wrote, to have the case in Springfield was for the “prosecutor’s convenience.”

It’s in the salvo in a legal cage match which began in March 2015 when the two sides began squabbling over whether Schock had complied with a federal grand jury’s subpoena. Prosecutors thought no, and often accused Schock of being evasive.

Defense attorneys said the former congressman bent over backwards to comply. Insults at each other couched in legal language were plentiful in multiple-page filings over the months.

Sharon Paul, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Springfield, had no comment. That’s not unusual as the office has rarely commented on pending litigation.

Besides convenience for Schock, his attorneys claim there’s no reason to have the case heard in Springfield as none of the witnesses are from there and most of the allegations occurred in the Peoria area.

“First, virtually every anticipated witness who lives in Illinois resides in Peoria. Indeed, witnesses in four crucial categories — Mr. Schock’s close friends and family, his major donors, staff members of Schock for Congress, and members of Mr. Schock’s district staff — overwhelmingly call Peoria home. Based on the (U.S. Attorney’s) grand jury investigation, Mr. Schock presently expects that the vast majority of principal witnesses live in or near Peoria or Washington, DC, and that none live in Springfield,” the motion states.

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(c) 2016 the Journal Star (Peoria, Ill.)

Visit the Journal Star (Peoria, Ill.) at www.PJStar.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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