Stunning court filing claims 'shakedown' by Swallow, Shurtleff
"Shurtleff and Swallow and their associates then shook Jenson down, enriching themselves and their friends with over $200,000 in payments and other benefits from Jenson between 2007 and 2010."
The allegations also include what is described as Jenson's "precarious" situation in the state prison system after Jenson told reporters about his dealings with Swallow and Shurtleff, including trips to a Southern California resort at his expense.
Jenson was recently put into protective custody "to ensure his life and safety," according to the filing. Mumford said Jenson has been transferred from the Utah State Prison to the the Davis County Jail, but the situation raises "concerns and questions about who was responsible for putting him in harm's way."
Court documents state that on June 4, Jenson was unexpectedly transferred to a prison housing unit for serious offenders and was with a "dangerous inmate with gang affiliations." After an attorney expressed concerns saying she "feared for Mr. Jenson's life," he was transferred to Davis County.
Asked if Swallow had anything to do with Jenson's situation in prison, Snow said he knew nothing about that. "I don't think so. Generally if a prisoner is moved, it's at his own request," Snow said. "I don't believe it would have anything to do with this story."
The court documents also state that the attorney general's office "either extorted or aided and/or abetted in the extortion" of Jenson. Jenson paid more than $200,000, according to the filing, including more than $122,000 to Tim Lawson, a self-described "fixer" who worked for Shurtleff.
That amount did not include expenses incurred by Swallow, Shurtleff and Lawson that were charged to Jenson, the filing said. Jenson has described for reporters trips taken by Swallow and Shurtleff to a posh Newport Beach resort at his expense.
Swallow's attorney, Snow, said it's not true that Swallow received any money from Jenson, just a few free nights at the resort.
"That's it. We would be shocked if Shurtleff got any money," Snow said.
Swallow and Shurtleff were taking advantage of the "weird relationship" they had with Jenson, according to the filing, because after he entered into a plea in abeyance on an earlier case, he was motivated "to comply with requests for money and favors" by Shurtleff and Swallow.
The demands on Jenson became "increasingly problematic," the court documents state, including that he raise $2 million "for a stranger in violation of the terms of his plea" and that he buy a "large volume" of a book that Shurtleff wrote "without even accepting delivery as a way to put Shurtleff money."
Also, the filing said Jenson was told to ask one of his employees to get then-U.S. Attorney Brent Tolman to back off of an investigation into Shurtleff. The employee, Paul Nelson, said in the filing he was asked by Lawson to contact Tolman, a relative.
Nelson, who handled security for Jenson until 2011, said in the filing that Lawson told him "that it would be very good for Mr. Jenson and suggested that if I did, a way could be found to drop the state's case against Mr. Jenson without having to pay the $4 million in restitution" owed as part of the plea in abeyance.
If he didn't contact the U.S. attorney, Nelson alleges that he was told "things could get worse, including a potential investigation into Mount Holly." Tolman, Nelson said in the filing, did not respond to a text message about the situation.
Swallow is currently the subject of federal, state and local investigations on a variety of allegations, including that he helped broker a deal for an indicted St. George businessman attempting to halt a federal investigation into his company.
On Wednesday, GOP House members will meet for three hours to discuss whether to begin impeachment proceedings against Swallow, a fellow Republican who took office in January.
Swallow served as Shurtleff's chief deputy and raised money for the former attorney general's past campaigns. Swallow has said repeatedly he has done nothing wrong and that the allegations are politically motivated.
"If I had anything to hide," Swallow said recently, "I wouldn't be sitting here in this office right now. I would do the quote unquote honorable thing, if I had done something that wrong, and I would leave my office."
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