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Shurtleff accuses Gill of a political witch hunt
Dispute » D.A. points to other probes as proof that investigators were just seeking the truth.

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In an earlier news conference Tuesday, Gill criticized the Justice Department for dropping the ball in its investigation of Swallow and Shurtleff.

Rawlings, a Republican who was largely dismissed by Shurtleff at his news conference, said Shurtleff and Swallow are, and will continue to be treated as, innocent until proven guilty — as is their constitutional right.

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"I understand Mr. Shurtleff is upset with me right now — that’s not surprising, given the circumstances," Gill said. "But this is the result of many months of investigations by several agencies, including the FBI and the [Utah] Department of Public Safety. I don’t control those folks."

In an interview, Swallow’s attorney, Stephen McCaughey, echoed Shurtleff’s accusations against Gill and the investigation.

"There’s some serious political motivation behind it," McCaughey said, "but where that’s going to get us, in the long run, I’m not sure."

When asked about Rawlings and his part in the probe, McCaughey pointed to Tuesday morning’s news conference.

"Did you hear anything from Troy [Rawlings?]" he asked. "I didn’t. And I don’t know what’s going on there, but Sim [Gill] was the only one talking."

Later, Swallow’s defense team, issued a news release lobbing even stronger language at Gill.

"Time and again, Sim Gill has used this case as a political platform, and today’s arrest is but one more unfortunate example. In a carefully crafted and politically calculated ploy, Sim Gill brought charges that smack of political opportunism more than any loyalty to our country’s longstanding commitment to due process," the emailed statement said. " ... The decision to charge Swallow comes long after the [Justice Department’s] Public Integrity Section declined to pursue charges, but only shortly before Gill’s next re-election fight."

State Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, who led the House investigation, disputed Shurtleff’s accusations of a political motivation. He found Gill and Rawlings to be "methodical."

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"I don’t see any basis for that accusation," Dunnigan said. "To me, this is not a witch hunt at all."

mcanham@sltrib.com, mlang@sltrib.com

Twitter: @mattcanham, @marissa_jae

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

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