SALT LAKE CITY — Former Utah Attorney General John Swallow won't be going to trial anytime soon on public corruption charges.
Third District Judge Elizabeth-Hruby Mills canceled his April 2016 trial Monday without setting a new date. Swallow recently hired a new lawyer who anticipates receiving a large volume of material from the FBI and possibly other federal agencies, some of which might be favorable to his defense.
"The federal government investigated my high-profile client and declined to file any charges. Seems like there might be something interesting there," attorney Scott Williams said after the hearing.
Swallow didn't appear in court Monday. Williams said the snowstorm and a power outage kept him from getting to the courthouse. Hruby-Mills earlier ordered Swallow to attend every hearing but excused him due to the weather.
Assistant Salt Lake County district attorney Chou Chou Collins did not object to the trial being delayed but asked that Swallow waive his speedy trial rights in writing.
A Republican who resigned from office two years ago this month, Swallow faces 13 felony charges including bribery, accepting gifts, money laundering and evidence tampering. He has pleaded not guilty.
Also, last Friday the Federal Election Commission asked a U.S. District judge to add Swallow as a co-defendant in its civil lawsuit against St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson. The FEC alleges Swallow worked with Johnson in making illegal campaign contributions to former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.
The judge has not ruled on the FEC request.
In Swallow's criminal case, Williams said he was told he would get the same federal information that Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings is demanding in the case against Shurtleff. The U.S. Department of Justice had been reluctant to turn over the evidence, but Rawlings last month said he expects to get the documents.
"The FBI has already apparently decided that Troy Rawlings is at least partially correct and partially warranted in his argument. They're going to provide material that but for his efforts apparently would have sat unlooked at," Williams said.
The DOJ declined to prosecute Swallow or Shurtleff after its investigation in 2013.
The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office, which is prosecuting Swallow, hasn't asked the federal government for the information as Rawlings has in the Shurtleff case. Even though he's been told he would receive it, Williams said he would file a motion to compel the district attorney to do so.
Swallow, he said, currently doesn't have the same legal standing for the evidence because the district attorney hasn't demanded it from the federal government.
"It is just a promise," Williams said.
Collins said in court there's no need to file motions to compel because the state is planning to give Williams the information.
A hearing on the disputed federal evidence in the Shurtleff case is scheduled for Feb. 17. Collins told the judge that there's no reason to put the Swallow case on the same track because they are separate. Hruby-Mills scheduled a status hearing in the Swallow case for April 4.
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