Criminal charges — Ex-A.G.s Swallow, Shurtleff accepted bribes, destroyed evidence

The 2 former Utah top cops face 23 felonies, misdemeanors between them

Published: Tuesday, July 15 2014 8:10 a.m. MDT

"(Gill) knows he cannot possibly prove beyond a reasonable doubt" his case in court, Shurtleff said.

While the arresting officers were respectful, as well as staffers at the Salt Lake County Jail, Shurtleff said an arrangement should have been made for him to surrender instead of arresting him without warning at his home.

Wheeler also expressed his disappointment with his client being arrested in front of his family.

"Why arrest the man in front of their family and friends when you're prepared to release them to Pre-Trial Services anyway?" he asked, referring to the agency that monitors criminal defendants upon release from jail. "This is not the normal procedure in a white-collar crime case."

Wheeler said Shurtleff is neither a flight risk nor a danger to the public, so he should have been summoned to surrender on his own terms rather than have his arrest made into a public event.

"We're grandstanding the whole thing. Now it's a media circus," he said. "There is absolutely no risk my client, or for that matter John Swallow, are going to abscond."

Wheeler also reiterated that while his client "admits he did a lot of dumb things," he steadfastly maintains his innocence and will not accept a plea deal.

"Mark is adamant that (the allegations) are untrue," he said. "He did not commit any crimes, and I believe him based on my evaluation of the evidence."

Shurtleff is accused of making two trips to the lavish Pelican Hill Resort near Newport Beach, California, paid for by Marc Sessions Jenson, a Salt Lake businessman the attorney general's office had prosecuted for selling unregistered securities and who was on probation at the time.

Shurtleff personally arranged a plea deal for Jenson that was so lenient that a judge rejected it, the charges state. The judge accepted a second plea agreement that also allowed Jenson to avoid jail but imposed $4.1 million in restitution. Jenson failed to repay investors and is now serving a 10-year prison sentence.

According the charges, Shurtleff and Swallow told Internet marketer Jonathan Eborn that contributing to Shurtleff's election campaign would benefit him if he were investigated. Eborn, who owned Infusion Media, subsequently donated $30,000.

Shurtleff also is accused of accepting gifts from indicted businessman Jeremy Johnson, who also contributed to the former attorney general's campaign. Specifically, prosecutors allege he used Johnson's personal jet and other property.

The charges also say Shurtleff benefitted from the role he played in the state's litigation with Bank of America to obtain settlements for Utahns who had lost their homes in the mortgage crisis.

Shurtleff pulled the state out of the case as one of his last acts in office in December 2012 and then went to work for Troutman Sanders, an international law firm that holds Bank of America as a major client.

Gill said Shurtleff dismissed the case while negotiating with Troutman Sanders for a job.

Swallow's attorney, Steve McCaughey, also expressed his bewilderment of setting a $250,000 bail, only to have both men released to Pre-Trial Services at no cost.

McCaughey said there was nothing in the charges that surprised him.

"It's what we were expecting," he said. "Mr. Swallow has always maintained his innocence. I don't anticipate any plea deal."

According to the charges, Swallow used Johnson's luxury houseboat and traveled on his private jet.

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