A Hard-Fought Victory

March 9, 2019

After years fighting for their client, a McGuireWoods team led by partner George J. Terwilliger III recently claimed victory for former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock to end the highly publicized federal case alleging misuse of campaign and government funds. The client win led the Am Law Litigation Daily to name Terwilliger its “Litigator of the Week.”

“That’s really the unwritten story here . . . my lead attorney, George Terwilliger, and his firm at McGuireWoods believing in my innocence from Day One four years ago and sticking with me through this . . . three different federal prosecutors, three different federal judges, until somebody in the Justice Department did the right thing,” Schock told Fox News. “The federal prosecutors in Chicago finally disposed of it.”

The dismissal, which the Chicago Tribune called “virtually unheard of in a high-profile corruption case,” was part of a deferred prosecution agreement in which authorities agreed to drop charges against Schock when the former congressman reimburses his campaign fund and pays federal back taxes. The deal was announced during a March 6 hearing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

The case dates to 2016, when a government investigation into Schock’s spending led to a 24-count indictment alleging he improperly used congressional and campaign funds and filed false tax returns and campaign committee reports. Schock, who resigned from Congress in 2015, denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty.

“We knew all along if we got this case in front of reasonable prosecutors it would not stand up,” said Terwilliger, a former deputy U.S. attorney general. “The vast majority of federal prosecutors do the right thing for the right reasons — this was the wrong case for the wrong reasons and it is gratifying to me to help fix that.”

The McGuireWoods lawyers working with Terwilliger on the case include partners Robert J. Bittman, Christina Egan and Benjamin Hatch, all former prosecutors, and associates Rebecca Gantt and Nathan Pittman. All are members of the firm’s nationally recognized Government Investigations & White Collar Litigation Department. The team also includes Mark Hubbard, a senior vice president with McGuireWoods Consulting, the firm’s public affairs subsidiary.

“We . . . realized from the start that we needed top professional media help, and we found it right in our own house,” Terwilliger told Litigation Daily.

“The team had to analyze thousands of transactions and millions of pages of records in order that we master the relevant facts in a wide-ranging investigation. Then we had to take that information and build a complete understanding of a factual narrative and legal analysis of the matters claimed to be possible violations of law. Finally, we had to delve deeply into what and how the government investigated the case to ferret out facts supporting legal challenges to various aspects of the case,” Terwilliger said.

Collaborative team efforts like the win for Schock have led McGuireWoods to be ranked among the world’s premier government investigations and white collar litigation firms by publications including Government Investigations Review and Law360.