Al Hartmann,
Tim Lawson makes his initial appearance in district court in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. Lawson has retained defense attorney Ron Yengich.

SALT LAKE CITY — The man who saw himself as former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff's "fixer" has retained a high-profile defense attorney.

Timothy William Lawson, 49, hired Ron Yengich on Monday to defend him in court. Lawson is charged with engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity, a second-degree felony; two counts of tax violations, second- and third-degree felonies; retaliation against a witness, a third-degree felony; and two second-degree felony counts of obstruction of justice.

He is accused of retaliating against witnesses, witness tampering, obstructing justice, bribery, falsifying tax information to hide income and failing to pay taxes, according to charges filed in 3rd District Court.

Lawson is currently being held on $250,000 bail at the Salt Lake County Jail. He was originally scheduled to have a hearing in court Monday to ask that bail be reduced. But because he hired new legal counsel that morning, both sides agreed to continue the hearing.

Lawson, of Provo, is a longtime friend of Shurtleff and his successor, John Swallow, who recently resigned as attorney general. Prosecutors allege Lawson used that friendship to influence others using intimidation and aggressive tactics, mostly behind the scenes.

Judge Robin Reese ordered an evaluation be conducted on Lawson by the next court hearing to help determine if bail should be reduced.

Lawson's family is hoping he can be released with an ankle monitor at the very least. Lawson's wife, Nicole, and his doctor have each submitted letters to the court saying that he has Celiac disease and is gluten intolerant, and he has lost 11 pounds since Dec. 30. They believe he should be released because jail food is giving him health issues.

"He is ultra sensitive to wheat, barley and rye," Nicole Lawson wrote. "The jail says they have been serving him gluten-free meals, but he still gets very ill every time he attempts to eat what they offer."

Lawson's next court hearing is scheduled for Feb. 3.


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