Thursday, July 10, 2014

Utah AG cleared in federal bribery investigation

September 12. 2013 2:39PM
Associated Press

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(AP) Utah Attorney General John Swallow has been cleared in a bribery investigation by the Department of Justice's public integrity section, spokesman Paul Murphy said.

Swallow learned the news from his attorney Thursday, Murphy said. Former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff told KSL Radio's Doug Wright earlier in the day that his attorney told him he also has been cleared.

Federal prosecutors were investigating a claim made by indicted businessman Jeremy Johnson, accused of running a fraudulent $350 million scheme, that Swallow arranged a deal to pay U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to quash a federal investigation. Reid has denied the allegation.

In May, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Utah handed over the probe to the public-integrity section of the U.S. Justice Department.

The Justice Department declined to discuss the case Thursday, saying that as a matter of policy it doesn't comment when investigations are opened and closed.

A separate investigation by two county district attorneys in Utah into whether the Utah Attorney General's Office broke any state laws will continue even though the federal case has been closed, said Salt Lake County Attorney Sim Gill.

Gill declined to divulge what exactly they are investigating, saying only they've received a host of allegations. He said the federal investigation's conclusion will help him and Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings in their joint inquiry into possible criminal violations. They also are working with the FBI, Gill said.

"We were waiting for them," Gill said Thursday. "This will allow us to move ahead without any overlapping concerns."

Meanwhile, a Utah House committee has its own investigation into Swallow that was recently launched that also continues. In a process that could lead to impeachment, a nine-member investigative committee is on a fact-finding mission that could cost as much as $3 million, according to estimates from legislative analysts.

Swallow also is the subject of complaints at the Utah State Bar, and the state elections office is investigating allegations that he violated campaign disclosure laws by failing to disclose several business interests.

Swallow, a Republican, has been surrounded by allegations of misconduct since assuming office in January. On KSL Radio's Doug Wright show, Swallow said Thursday he hopes officials weigh the cost of these other investigations moving forward. He reiterated his innocence and predicted he'll be cleared of all wrongdoing.

Swallow added it's been a humbling, terrible process. But he se said he's proud he stuck it out and continued the work of his office.

"This has been has hard, but life is hard," Swallow said. "I want people of Utah to know that I'm grateful, humble, and I'm excited to serve."

Earlier Thursday, Shurtleff also went on the Doug Wright show. With his voice breaking, Shurtleff said the ongoing investigation took a toll on him and his family.

"I always knew at the end of the day there was nothing they could charge me with," Shurtleff told Wright. "Obviously I couldn't be more pleased and grateful."

Associated Press

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