Jailed Utah businessman hopes prosecutors have exculpatory evidence
The investigation into Mark Shurtleff's alleged "fixer," Tim Lawson, may prove beneficial to jailed businessman Marc Sessions Jenson, who has accused Lawson of helping two former Utah attorneys general shake him down for cash and favors.
In court Tuesday, acting Utah County Attorney Tim Taylor, who is prosecuting the Jenson case, asked a 3rd District judge to put off scheduling a trial until he's had more time to collect information from Lawson's prosecutors.
"A lot's been going on behind the scenes," Taylor told the judge.
Jenson's defense attorney, Marcus Mumford, later told The Salt Lake Tribune that this is a significant turn of events from the prosecution, who, up until Lawson's arrest in December, had been determined to prosecute Jenson's case as swiftly as possible.
Lawson and Jenson are central figures in the scandal engulfing Shurtleff and his successor, recently resigned Attorney General John Swallow.
Jenson, who is accused of felony fraud and money laundering over his now-defunct plans to develop a ritzy Beaver County resort known as the Mount Holly Club, was originally scheduled to stand trial this month, along with his co-defendant brother, Stephen R. Jenson.
But the trial was scrapped when new information came to light.
Mumford said he's unsure what to expect when Jenson appears in court again, on Feb. 21, but believes the information Taylor has been receiving from prosecutors in the Lawson case may be exculpatory for his client.
Lawson, whose attorney appeared in court on his behalf Monday, is accused of intimidating witnesses, evading taxes, obstructing justice and participating in a pattern of unlawful activity in connection to the shakedown Jenson has alleged.
Jenson has claimed he paid Lawson $120,000 over 11 months in 2009 and had Lawson, Shurtleff and Swallow stay at his luxurious Southern California villa on Jenson's dime.
Jenson didn't level these accusations of extortion against the former attorneys general until two years after he was charged in 3rd District Court of eight second-degree felonies: four counts of communications fraud, three counts of money laundering and one count of committing a pattern of illegal activity.
Each charge carries a maximum prison term of up to 15 years.