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Next court date for Swallow, Shurtleff pushed back to October

Published August 12, 2014 11:35 am

They'll appear in court in October; Swallow's attorney wants more time to review evidence.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Embattled former Attorneys General John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff will not appear again in court until October after their originally scheduled mid-August hearing was pushed back Tuesday by more than two months.

According to a motion filed in 3rd District Court earlier this month, Swallow's attorneys asked the court date be moved to "allow time to review extensive discovery and analyze the time frame needed for preparation."

The two former attorneys general first appeared in criminal court July 30 to answer to a slew of public corruption charges, ranging from accepting or soliciting bribes to tampering with witnesses and evidence.

At that time, attorneys for the two former top prosecutors said they had been given evidence on a hard drive, but would not elaborate about what the evidence contained or how much they received.

Shurtleff and Swallow face a combined 23 counts, 21 of them felonies, in what has mushroomed into the most sweeping political scandal in Utah history. If convicted, each could land in prison for up to 30 years.

The postponed hearing, now set for Oct. 20, remains scheduled before Judge Elizabeth Hruby-Mills, the same jurist who is hearing the prosecution of Mark Sessions Jenson, a jailed businessman at the heart of some of the charges against Swallow and Shurtleff.

Jenson has accused the state's two former top law enforcers of shaking him down for cash, favors and luxury treatment at the businessman's Southern California villa.

If the defendants or prosecutors take issue with Hruby-Mills' appointment, another motion would be filed asking for a new judge.

Shurtleff — who served as Utah's attorney general for a dozen years and two as a Salt Lake County commissioner — faces 10 felonies, including receiving or soliciting bribes, accepting gifts, tampering with witnesses and evidence and participating in a pattern of unlawful conduct.

Swallow — who was forced to step down in December less than a year into his first term — was charged with 11 felonies and two misdemeanors, including multiple counts of receiving or soliciting bribes, accepting gifts, tampering with evidence, obstructing justice and participating in a pattern of unlawful conduct.

Both men have maintained their innocence.

The charges come after two years of investigative work by state and federal authorities, as well as separate inquiries by the Utah Legislature and the lieutenant governor's office into the dealings of the former state officials and an alleged "pay for play" operation being run out of the attorney general's office.

Swallow and Shurtleff were arrested at their Sandy homes July 15 and booked into the Salt Lake County jail. Bail was set at $250,000 each. They were released hours later. Neither had to post bond — an offer made by Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill as a show of good faith.

It's not the only ongoing litigation against the state's two former top prosecutors.

Last week, a key player in the scandal filed a lawsuit alleging the former attorneys general conspired with Bank of America to derail a major foreclosure lawsuit, harming thousands of Utahns who could have benefited from that case.

Darl McBride — who was in the news before due to a recording of a meeting at which Shurtleff offered to get him $2 million if he would stop his online criticism of a developer — alleges Shurtleff dismissed the lawsuit challenging Bank of America's foreclosure practices in exchange for a Washington, D.C., job for a lobbying firm that had represented the bank.

mlang@sltrib.com

Twitter: @Marissa_Jae —

Court date postponed

Former Utah Attorneys General John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff were originally scheduled to appear before a criminal court judge Aug. 18. On Tuesday, that hearing was pushed back more than two months, to Oct. 20. Here are the charges they face:

Charges against Swallow:

Count 1 •Â Pattern of unlawful activity, second-degree felony

Count 2 • Accepting a gift, second-degree felony

Counts 3-5 • Receiving or soliciting a bribe, second-degree felonies

Count 6 •Â False or inconsistent material statements, second-degree felony

Counts 7-9 •Â Tampering with evidence, third-degree felony

Count 10 • Misuse of public money, third-degree felony

Count 11 • Obstructing justice, third-degree felony

Count 12 •Â Falsification or alteration of government record, class B misdemeanor

Count 13 • Failure to disclose conflict of interest, class B misdemeanor

Charges against Shurtleff:

Count 1 •Â Pattern of unlawful activity, second-degree felony

Counts 2-4 • Receiving or soliciting a bribe, second-degree felonies

Counts 5-6 • Accepting a gift, second-degree felony

Count 7 •Â Accepting employment that would impair judgment, second-degree felony

Count 8 •Â Tampering with a witness, third-degree felony

Count 9 • Tampering with evidence, third-degree felony

Count 10 • Obstructing justice, third-degree felony