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Swallow campaign filed fake tax papers, new warrants show
Scandal » Consultant for Swallow, Shurtleff directed staffers to erase data from computers, warrants allege.

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During the meeting, Peterson said, Swallow quoted scripture and appeared nervous and agitated.

The seven warrants, all signed Dec. 11 by 3rd District Judge Vernice Trease, were served to various Internet and phone providers for accounts used by Swallow, Powers, campaign staffers and Tim Lawson, a Shurtleff confidant who remains behind bars on felony charges of tax evasion, obstruction of justice and witness intimidation.

At a glance

Republican ‘feedings’

A frank email exchange showed John Swallow’s campaign staff likening Republican state delegates to animals and disparagingly refers to a transgender delegate as “that thing.”

The email — part of an affidavit supporting a request for a search warrant in the criminal investigation of Swallow, his predecessor, Mark Shurtleff, and others — bears the subject line “Feedings” and notes the campaign was buying meals for about 80 delegates a day in the weeks leading up to the Utah Republican Convention.

It is common for candidates to buy meals for delegates who have tremendous clout in picking the party’s nominees.

“Feedings? Is this like delegates are deer and John is a salt lick kind of thing?” campaign staffer Greg Powers wrote.

“I was thinking more goats and a tin can,” replied campaign staffer Seth Crossley. “Not sure if that analogy actually happens outside of cartoons, though.”

Another staffer, Renae Cowley, said she was “still waiting for a picture of the tranny!” She was referring to a transgender delegate who identifies as a woman.

Crossley said he “offered [to take] a picture of that thing” but she declined. Cowley said she “just said not an ‘up the skirt’ shot.”

Robert Gehrke

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The warrants were requested by Scott Nesbitt, an investigator with the Utah Department of Public Safety, who is working with FBI agents and Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill and Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings in a long-running investigation into whether Swallow, Shurtleff and others broke state laws.

The warrants seek evidence of numerous crimes, including obstruction of justice, witness tampering and retaliation, soliciting and accepting bribes, evidence tampering, harassment and tax evasion.

Under Utah law, warrants are sealed for 20 days after they are signed by a judge. An earlier warrant for phone records relating to Lawson, Shurtleff and others was released two weeks ago.

The affidavits supporting the warrants contain much of the information covered by investigators for a Utah House committee created to examine Swallow, pointing to a close collaboration between the two entities.

Swallow, who stepped down Dec. 3 after nearly 11 months as attorney general, has maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal. Emails and phone calls to attorneys for Swallow and Shurtleff were not returned Thursday.

Tom Harvey contributed to this story.


Twitter: @RobertGehrke

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