Jailed businessman Marc Jenson, who has made headline-grabbing allegations against Utah Attorney General John Swallow and his predecessor, Mark Shurtleff, wants state prosecutors off his case.
Literally and, now, figuratively.
No phone calls. No stakeouts. No visits. No contact at all with Jenson, his wife, his lawyers or his witnesses, from Swallow, Shurtleff or anyone from the Utah attorney general's office.
Jenson's attorneys asked a 3rd District judge Friday to issue a protective order banning all contact from the A.G.'s office due to alleged threats and harassment from officials.
According to the petition, threats and other worrisome behavior began when Jenson's legal team asked Judge Elizabeth Hruby-Mills to disqualify the attorney general's office from prosecuting their client over his now-defunct Mount Holly development.
The request for a protective order is "precautionary," attorney Marcus Mumford said in an interview.
"We feel that this is necessary to de-escalate and resolve the issues presented by our motion to disqualify the attorney general's office in a manner that ensures the safety and protection of everybody involved," Mumford said.
Attorney general's office spokesman Paul Murphy dismissed any alleged danger and called the motion a "tactic." In an emailed statement, Murphy said the allegations against office officials "are categorically untrue and malicious."
"No one from the attorney general's office has stalked or harassed the Jenson family," he wrote, "and it is reckless for the defense attorneys to make such unsubstantiated claims."
Mumford responded by saying the attorney general's office had admitted to calling his office and added that all accusations made in the court documents are corroborated by several sources.
Mumford's partner, Bret Rawson, was the target of some of the most recent alleged threats and intimidation by an official at the attorney general's office, according to court documents.
Last Saturday morning, Rawson received the first of two phone calls from Chief Deputy Attorney General Kirk Torgensen. During the call, which woke up Rawson, Torgensen allegedly told Rawson that he and Jenson's other attorneys needed to "be careful."
The tone was menacing, Rawson wrote in a declaration to the court.
Days later, after news reports detailing the call, Torgensen phoned again, the document states. Rawson believes Togensen was making an audio recording of the Monday call, in which he asked Rawson to admit "his prior call was not threatening."
During that call, the attorney said, Torgensen also indicated he had been concerned about the dealings of Swallow and Shurtleff, and noted he was a witness in several pending investigations into the conduct of the current and former attorneys general. In the first call, Rawson wrote, Torgensen claimed he was "generally disgusted with the behavior of his 'boss' John Swallow, and that he didn't want to be a part of it."
The details of Torgensen's calls outlined in the court documents indicate that Torgensen felt powerless to stop his bosses but had tried to prevent Shurtleff's confidant Tim Lawson from getting involved.
Lawson, who is Shurtleff's "self-described fixer," is accused of helping the former attorney general and Swallow engage in a shakedown of Jenson.
Attorneys say Jenson paid Lawson more than $200,000 over a period of about 18 months and that Shurtleff and Swallow stayed at Pelican Hill, Jenson's luxurious Newport Beach, Calif., villa and charged hundreds of dollars in meals, golf and spa treatments to Jenson.
Paul Nelson, a witness in Jenson's case, wrote in a court statement that he has received several phone calls from Shurtleff and many more from "unknown" or "blocked" numbers.
Shurtleff denied ever calling Nelson and said Jenson's "untrue and defamatory allegations have gone from the absurd to the insane." The former attorney general also called Jenson a "pathological liar" who manipulates the media.
Jenson's wife, Stori Jenson, wrote that she has received several phone calls from "blocked" or "unknown" number she suspects are affiliated with the attorney general's office, according to her sworn statement.
Stori Jenson has found the calls "distressing" because she and her family live alone without Jenson, who is in the Davis County jail, the statement states. Stori Jenson has previously accused the attorney general's office of having a prosecutor survey her neighborhood in an unmarked car.