Jailed businessman Marc Sessions Jenson asked a Utah judge Monday to reconsider his request to haul former Attorneys General John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff into court to answer questions regarding his prosecution and the alleged "pay-to-play" scheme at the heart of a scandal that engulfed the AG’s office and led to Swallow’s resignation.
Third District Judge Elizabeth Hruby-Mills denied an identical request in April, but Jenson’s attorney Marcus Mumford said Monday that she did so without having all of the facts.
An investigation, conducted by a former federal judge and retired prosecutor, was released later that month that asserted Shurtleff’s handling of the case against Jenson "defies explanation."
The report also went on to say that although the conduct of Shurtleff and his successor was improper, the cases against Jenson — a 2008 case in which he was convicted of securities violations and sent to prison in 2011; and the new charges he faces for allegedly defrauding investors in a southern Utah ski and golf resort venture — should stand.
But Mumford said Monday the impropriety alleged in this report gets at the kind of prosecutorial misconduct by the attorney general’s office he has been insisting existed all along.
"This whole case relies on what Shurtleff and Swallow did during that period," Mumford told The Tribune. "This prosecution is the final act of their pay-to-play scheme against my client."
Among the "key witnesses" Mumford has said he would call to testify under oath, should such a hearing be granted, are Shurtleff, Swallow and former Chief Deputy Kirk Torgensen, among others.
Utah County prosecutor Tim Taylor, who took over the case after the attorney general’s office bowed out, said regardless of whether Jenson was singled out for his unwillingness to play the former attorneys general’s alleged games, he still committed crimes and defrauded investors of substantial amounts of money.
Taylor has also called Mumford’s insistence on questioning the former law enforcement officials a distraction and he continues to push for a trial date. The case has been ongoing since 2011 and concerns alleged crimes committed as far back as 2007.
The lawyer for Jenson’s co-defendant brother, Stephen R. Jenson, also asked the judge Monday to sever his client’s case from that of his brother, worrying his client’s case will be overshadowed and muddled by that of his brother.
The judge will issue her ruling on both issues on July 23 in a telephone conference with the defense and prosecution.
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