FARMINGTON Three news media outlets will comply with investigative subpoenas demanding tapes in the criminal probe into the state treasurer's race.
The tapes from KSL-TV, KSL NewsRadio and KUTV will be given to investigators for the Davis and Weber county attorneys, who are conducting a probe into allegations that state treasurer candidate Mark Walker offered his opponent, Richard Ellis, a bribe to drop out of the GOP primary. The prosecutors sought tapes of interviews with Walker, Ellis and House Speaker Greg Curtis.
The broadcast outlets insist the tapes being handed over are of interviews already aired.
"We have not produced any nonbroadcast material," Jeff Hunt, an attorney representing KSL, said Thursday. "It's privileged under the new reporter's privilege rule."
Hunt is also an attorney who represents the Deseret News. The reporter's privilege rule was adopted by the state courts earlier this year, granting some protections to reporters from divulging sources or other sensitive information.
Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said he would not challenge it.
"We're very happy with the cooperation," he said Thursday.
Rawlings, a Republican, and Weber County Attorney Mark DeCaria, a Democrat, were appointed by the Utah Attorney General's Office to investigate the allegations in the treasurer's race. At the center of the case is deputy treasurer Ellis' claims that Walker, a former state lawmaker, offered to let him keep his job and a substantial pay raise if he'd drop out of the race.
Ellis has also claimed that Walker assured him he could get legislative approval for the pay hike and already had assurances from "the person who could make it happen." There have been widespread rumors and speculation that person is Curtis, something he denied in a KSL-TV interview.
Ellis won the primary and Walker has denied offering a bribe, while acknowledging he said treasurer's office employees would keep their jobs if he won. The men were both interviewed on KSL NewsRadio's "Doug Wright Show" and KUTV's "Take 2" program with Rod Decker.Rawlings has declined to say why he wants the tapes, but it is believed they could either affirm or contradict statements made to investigators. The criminal probe is centering around a class B misdemeanor election law violation.