Swallow's office won't oppose court motion to turn over records
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Attorney General's Office won't oppose a House investigative committee motion forcing it to comply with a subpoena, but it intends to ask a judge to consider another way to turn over files that include health-related information.
Meantime, the nine-member panel investigating Attorney General John Swallow is expected to talk about a slew of electronic records missing from his office at its meeting Tuesday.
"As of right now, we're planning to discuss that in open session," Rep. Jim Dunnigan, the committee chairman, said Monday.
The Taylorsville Republican said committee members were briefed about the situation but will have a chance to ask questions and go more in depth at the meeting.
Attorneys for the committee filed a motion in 3rd District Court on Friday to compel Swallow and his office to comply with a Sept. 25 subpoena for documents going back to December 2009. They also issued a second subpoena for the same data last week.
The attorney general's office says some of the requested files include personal health information that is private under federal law.
Investigators say they can't move forward without access to the data. They propose that a judge allow their computer expert to recover the information and return it to the attorney general's office without reviewing it. The office would then go through it and provide the House committee the non-health-related data to comply with the subpoena.
Attorney general's office spokesman Paul Murphy said it was Swallow's office that suggested the committee file the motion for a judge to intervene.
"We felt like that was the best mechanism. They filed the motion and we won't oppose it, but we'll file our own motion that we think will better clarify how those records should be handled," he said. "Our full intent is to hand over all the records but also to make sure that federal and state laws are followed."
The attorney general's office also intends to ask for an expedited court hearing, Murphy said.
Swallow provided some of the subpoenaed information before the Oct. 25 deadline, but investigators discovered a large amount of data has been lost or deleted, including Swallow's emails, calendar entries and computer files.
Dunnigan said the attorney general's office has cooperated with the committee's investigators.
"I think they recognize there is missing information," he said.
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