Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Attorneys for imprisoned swindler Marc Sessions Jenson filed court documents Saturday claiming he is a victim of a "shakedown" by embattled Utah Attorney General John Swallow and his predecessor, Mark Shurtleff.
The stunning filing in support of Jenson's motion to remove the Utah Attorney General's Office from his pending criminal case accuses Swallow of securing a "quid pro quo" agreement from Jenson promising Swallow a lot valued at $1 million in a planned members-only ski resort development known as Mount Holly.
Swallow, the filing states, had "told Jenson that he was going to be the next attorney general and that Jenson would need Swallow in that position to work through issues that may arise with respect to the Mount Holly development."
And prosecutors in the case, assistant attorneys general Scott Reed and Che Arguello, are accused in the filing of "staking out" Jenson's wife and family in a suspicious manner, "because of either an abnormal personal infatuation with this case or a desire to harass the family members of Mr. Jenson or both."
The accusations are all part of what Jenson's attorneys call a "pattern of wrongdoing" and extortion by the attorney general's office that is "now more interested in defending themselves against the disclosures and investigations of the office’s misconduct than they are in seeking justice on behalf of the people of the state of Utah."
Swallow's personal attorney, Rod Snow, said there was no agreement that Swallow would get a Mount Holly lot and called the claim "ridiculous."
"The fact certain members of the press continue to rely on a felon in prison who is facing new charges which could result in additional convictions and even more time in prison, to smear a newly elected A.G., is astounding to me and many others," Snow said Saturday.
The filing also indicates that as a private attorney, Swallow was personally involved in 2007 and 2008, "albeit intermittently," as a member of Jenson's legal team in key decisions about the Mount Holly development when Swallow sought a "piece of Mount Holly."
But Snow said Swallow had never worked for Jenson. The idea was discussed but never materialized, he said.
Shurtleff, who recently left a Washington, D.C. law firm to start a consulting business, said in a statement: "Marc Jenson's allegations of a shakedown (just like his repeated lies to media from his prison cell) are an absolute fabrication by a convicted serial fraudster."
Jenson, who is serving a 10-year sentence after failing to pay millions of dollars in court-ordered restitution to investors in a lending operation, faces felony charges along with his brother in connection with his unsuccessful attempt to turn the Beaver County ski area into an exclusive members-only resort.
"This is just the start of what we anticipate bringing to the court in order to seek justice on Mr. Jenson's behalf," Jenson's lead attorney, Marcus Mumford, told the Deseret News.
Mumford said there is more to come about both Swallow and Shurtleff.
"This isn't comprehensive by any means," he said, noting that new information is still being uncovered and is expected to be brought to the court's attention shortly. "Ultimately, what we anticipate is the facts will exonerate Mr. Jenson."
The court documents accuse Swallow and Shurtleff of using the prosecution of Jenson over eight years to "benefit themselves and their friends at his expense," by initiating "false charges originating from a political donor whose payments to Shurtleff's campaign coincided with the timing of the case," the filing states.
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