McGuireWoods Obtains ‘Stunning Reversal’ in Aaron Schock case; Nets Plaudits, Headlines

March 27, 2019

A McGuireWoods team led by Washington, D.C., partner George Terwilliger persuaded the Department of Justice to drop all charges in its two year-old, 24 felony count indictment against former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock.

The March 6 decision by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago approved a deferred prosecution agreement Terwilliger and his team negotiated with prosecutors, ending a four-year federal investigation of the Illinois Republican and triggering strong reactions from the media.

Chicago’s WGN-TV broke in live with the news and updated the story throughout the day, adding a former federal prosecutor saying it is “very, very rare when federal prosecutors come after you that you end up with a result like this.” The Washington Post called the decision “a stunning reversal” for the former lawmaker. The Chicago Tribune said the dismissal was “virtually unheard of in a high-profile corruption case.”  Both of those newspapers, as well as The New York Times, Law360, the Chicago Sun-Times and The Daily Beast, quoted Terwilliger in their first-day coverage. Schock finished the day in New York discussing the case on Fox News.

He began the next morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” followed by another Fox News appearance praising his McGuireWoods defense team: “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.”

Noting the legal victory, The American Lawyer on March 8 named Terwilliger “Litigator of the Week” and featured him in a lengthy question-and-answer piece about his handling of the case.

On March 12, the Chicago Tribune published an op-ed by Terwilliger defending his client. 

Joining Terwilliger on the team representing Schock were McGuireWoods partners and former prosecutors Robert J. Bittman (Washington, DC), Christina Egan (Chicago) and Benjamin Hatch (Norfolk), as well as McGuireWoods associates Rebecca Gantt (Norfolk) and Nathan Pittman (Washington, DC).  All are members of the firm’s nationally recognized Government Investigations & White Collar Litigation Department.  The team also included Mark Hubbard, a Richmond-based senior vice president with McGuireWoods Consulting, the firm’s public affairs subsidiary.