Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Al Hartmann | Tribune file photo) Mark Shurtleff was a guest on Trib Talk on Wednesday June 4, 2014.
Jenson lawyer: Swallow, Shurtleff have info that could clear client
Courts » He wants to call Swallow, Shurtleff to testify; prosecutor says no reason to delay trial.
First Published Mar 30 2014 01:24 pm • Last Updated Mar 30 2014 07:52 pm

Jailed businessman Marc Sessions Jenson is on the hunt for evidence he believes will clear his name in the fraud case against him.

The truth, his lawyers insist, is out there.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

And he wants a chance to unearth it — even if it means dragging former Utah Attorneys General Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow, among others, into court.

But acting Utah County Attorney Tim Taylor, who is prosecuting the case against Jenson, wrote in a motion filed with 3rd District Court last week that no such exonerating information exists — and even if it did, he explains, it’s unlikely Jenson could get his hands on it.

"Any individual who has exculpatory information, they are going to lawyer up," Taylor said at a hearing last month.

In his filing last week, Taylor wrote: "[Jenson] assumes that if an evidentiary hearing was conducted, these individuals would provide testimony. The court is aware that some of these individuals are under investigation and there is no reason to assume that these individuals would even testify at an evidentiary hearing. In fact, there is a strong reason to believe that the individuals under investigation would invoke their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination."

Jenson, a key figure in the scandal engulfing Swallow, Shurtleff and others, is accused of felony fraud and money laundering over his now-defunct plans to develop a high-end Beaver County resort known as the Mount Holly Club.

He is charged in 3rd District Court with eight second-degree felonies: four counts of communications fraud, three counts of money laundering and one count of committing a pattern of illegal activity.

The case, which has been ongoing since 2011 and concerns alleged crimes committed as far back as 2007, has not yet been set for trial.

It’s long overdue, Taylor wrote.


story continues below
story continues below

"There are several individuals who gave the Jensons a substantial amount of money and these individuals are still without recourse," Taylor’s motion says. "The State of Utah respectfully invokes the victims’ right to a speedy trial [and] requests that the court set a trial date during the summer months of 2014."

On Monday, the parties will reconvene to argue whether Jenson will get his chance to call "key" witnesses to testify as to the existence and nature of the evidence his defense team believes will clear his name.

Among those Jenson may wish to call, defense attorney Marcus Mumford wrote, are the two former Utah attorneys general, embattled Shurtleff-confidant Tim Lawson, criminal division chief Scott Reed and former chief deputy Kirk Torgensen, whose involvement and proximity to the goings on inside the A.G.’s office have drawn recent scrutiny.

Throughout his request, Mumford cites and references a Utah House Committee report on Swallow that was released earlier this month and alleges that the former attorney general "hung a veritable ‘for sale’ sign on the office door."

"They were running what the House Report describes as their ‘pay to play’ scheme against Mr. Jenson for several years," Mumford wrote in his request for an evidentiary hearing. "The House Report concluded that the actions of the office of Attorney General appear to have been ‘highly improper’ in this case, ‘and, at minimum raise troubling questions about whether decisions in the Jenson case were made for legitimate or illegitimate reasons.’ "

Last month, Taylor told Judge Elizabeth Hruby-Mills that his office had sent two resolution offers to Jenson and his co-defendant brother, Stephen R. Jenson.

Taylor said if the men accepted the deal, the case would resolve in a diversion agreement, meaning the charges would be dismissed against the Jenson brothers if they follow a set of agreements, such as staying on the right side of the law and testifying willingly, if called, in other cases.

But Mumford declined entering into any agreement unless and until his client is given the opportunity to clear his name in an evidentiary hearing, during which he would allegedly call several witnesses to the stand.

"Courts have found that prosecutors are required to disclose exculpatory evidence, even if only at the plea negotiation phase of a case," Mumford wrote. "Respectfully, the court must allow Mr. Jenson to investigate this issue further to determine what else has not been disclosed."

The judge will issue her ruling after both sides have made their case in court Monday.

The attorney general’s office bowed out of Jenson’s case in July and handed it over to the Utah County attorney’s office after the defense alleged conflicts of interest due to Jenson’s allegations that Swallow and Shurtleff orchestrated a "shakedown" for cash, favors and luxury treatment at Jenson’s Southern California villa.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.