A Salt Lake defense lawyer has been charged with two misdemeanors for allegedly threatening a man with a gun during an argument in February.
Attorney Paul Gotay was charged with assault, a class B misdemeanor, and attempted aggravated assault, a class A mis-de-mean-or, Tuesday in 3rd District Court.The charges were filed by the Attorney General's Office after a three and a half month investigation.
The Salt Lake County district attorney's office asked the attorney general's office to take over the case in late February because they often interact with Gotay in criminal cases and felt that may constitute a conflict of interest.
Assistant Attorney General Mike Wims said the investigation took as long as it did because "we were investigating and interviewing a lot of witnesses."
When contacted by the Deseret News Wednesday morning at his downtown law office, Gotay refused to comment.
The charges stem from an argument that occurred the night of Feb. 3, according to court documents and police reports.
Gotay called police and said that he and a former renter were arguing over the removal of an item from his property, a Salt Lake police report said. He told officers that the former tenant told Gotay he was "going to get a gun."
Gotay said it was at that point he called police.
But the former tenant told police a different story - one that was confirmed by several LDS missionaries who were helping the man move his belongings.
Kevan Walker said that he was removing some items from property he had rented from Gotay with the help of LDS missionaries when Gotay confronted them. He said that Gotay was "very upset for no reason and was using profanity toward him. Words were exchanged and Mr. Gotay pulled out a small silver handgun and pointed it at him saying that he was going to kill him," the report said.
Eight missionaries told police that they saw Gotay with a silver handgun. One missionary said Got-ay also "pointed the gun at him and stated that he was going to kill him," the report said.
No gun was located by police that night, the report says, and no arrests were made.
The missionaries referred calls to the mission president, who declined to comment on the case.
Wims said Gotay's first appearance before a judge is scheduled for Aug. 20 at 9 a.m.
Utah State Bar Financial Administrator Arnold Birrell said no public disciplinary action has been filed against Gotay at this time.