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Joe Pyrah, the House’s chief deputy, said investigators were told that information-technology staffers for the attorney general’s office did not move any files to the new computers after Swallow told the IT workers that the transfer had been taken care of.
The hard drives on the old computers were wiped clean and given to others in the office, according to the House’s court filing.
Committee to meet
The Utah House Special Investigative Committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the Utah Capitol to receive an update on the missing electronic records in the probe of Attorney General John Swallow.
Attorneys have asked the 3rd District Court to grant the House access to copies of computer hard drives and servers in an attempt to recover files missing from Swallow’s email account and computers.
Murphy said the attorney general’s office doesn’t plan to resist the House’s efforts and would file a response soon agreeing to an expedited hearing on the matter.
"Our office actually recommended to the legislative investigators that they file a court document to have the court intervene to help deal with the state and privacy issues with those emails," Murphy said. "We aren’t going to oppose their motion, but we are going to file our own motion that we think will clarify how the records ought to be handled."
At issue: private health data that may be housed on the servers. Releasing that information could violate federal privacy laws.
The issue of the missing data came to light in late September, when House investigators were notified of the gaps. A few days later, Brian Tarbet, general counsel to the attorney general, sent an email to employees in the office not to delete information that might be pertinent to the investigation.
By the time Tarbet sent his email, Swallow had already been under investigation for at least nine months.
The Justice Department confirmed in January that it was investigating. In September, the department notified Swallow and Shurtleff that it would not charge them. The top prosecutors from Salt Lake and Davis counties, in conjunction with the FBI, are continuing to investigate whether Swallow or Shurtleff broke any state laws.
The House committee will meet Tuesday morning, and Chairman Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, expects a discussion of the missing information and the recovery efforts.
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