SALT LAKE CITY — A new search warrant unsealed in 3rd District Court was aimed at the cellphone of the former criminal division chief in the Utah Attorney General's Office.
Kirk Torgensen agreed to turn over "relevant" text messages to investigators but would not initially give them his cellphone, according to an affidavit for the warrant. Some of them were between Torgensen and former Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. Torgensen worked as Shurtleff's chief deputy over criminal cases.
In a Jan. 13 meeting, Torgensen gave investigators examples of text exchanges between himself and Shurtleff that apparently related to former Attorney General John Swallow, Shurtleff's immediate successor.
"I'm pissed about that, the damn stupid things John did," according to one message.
Another reads: "I've been convicted by association to stupid things I have nothing to do with."
A Utah House Special Investigative Committee report alleges Swallow had a "for sale" sign on his office door as part of a pay-to-play scheme to benefit himself and his friends. The reports also say Swallow destroyed a large amount of electronic data and created documents to hide his wrongdoing. Swallow has denied the allegations.
Swallow, Shurtleff and apparently Torgensen are targets of an ongoing investigation by Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill and Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings. They are working with the Utah Department of Public Safety and the FBI.
Investigators have obtained a dozen warrants for electronic data belonging to current and former members of the attorney general's office and others.
Torgensen also told investigators in the meeting that he didn't want to turn messages over to them and have Shurtleff's attorney "take me on," the affidavit states.
Investigators showed Torgensen a search warrant and said they needed the phone right away. Agents had to physically take the phone from his hand, according to the affidavit.
Torgensen told them, "All right. Be careful." Asked by the agents what he meant, Torgensen replied, "You know, don't be violating my privacy."
Torgensen stayed on at the attorney general's office after Swallow resigned and the governor appointed Sean Reyes. Reyes demoted Torgensen as chief deputy and put him on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
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