FARMINGTON Prosecutors investigating allegations of bribery in the state treasurer's primary election race are issuing subpoenas to news organizations, seeking tapes of their interviews with the candidates and House Speaker Greg Curtis.
The subpoenas were disclosed Monday and served upon KSL-TV and KSL NewsRadio, seeking "copies of any and all interviews, television programs and news broadcasts, both edited and unedited versions of interviews with Mark Walker, Richard Ellis and Greg Curtis occurring on June 23, 2008, on the Doug Wright radio program and the Ch. 5 newscast interview conducted by Richard Piatt and broadcast on July 10, 2008."
Contacted by the Deseret News Monday night, Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said they "were going wherever there's information."
"We want to be able to put the whole puzzle together and not just bits and pieces," he said.
Rawlings, a Republican, and Weber County Attorney Mark DeCaria, a Democrat, have been appointed by the Utah Attorney General's Office to investigate the treasurer's race and any possible election law violations. At the heart of the case are allegations by deputy treasurer Ellis against his primary election opponent, former Rep. Mark Walker, R-Sandy. Ellis has accused Walker of offering him a job and a pay raise if he'd drop out of the treasurer's race. Ellis has also claimed that Walker assured him he could make the raise happen and he had talked to "the person who could make it happen." There have been widespread rumors and speculation that the person referred to is Curtis, something he adamantly denied in interviews with KSL.
"I'm not going to comment on that," he said to KSL-TV. "You know that's an unprofessional question. I did not talk with Mark Walker at all in regards to the treasurer's race, salary or anything else."
Ellis won the GOP primary. Walker denied any wrongdoing, saying he never offered Ellis a raise. He acknowledged that he did say that treasurer's office employees would keep their jobs if he won the November election. Walker resigned from the Legislature in the face of an ethics committee investigation.
The criminal probe is centering around a class B misdemeanor charge of promise to appoint to office. The subpoenas could be part of an effort to either affirm or discredit statements made to both the media and to investigators. Ellis was reportedly questioned by investigators on Monday.
Rawlings told the Deseret News last month that subpoenas were going to be issued and that numerous people would be questioned in the ongoing probe.
The subpoena demands the tapes by Aug. 1. No decision has been made if the news organizations plan to comply. Rawlings would not say if he planned to issue subpoenas to other news organizations, including the Deseret News.
"We're still assessing what we have," said Con Psarras, news director for KSL-TV.KSL NewsRadio officials declined to comment.