SALT LAKE CITY — A day after deciding to drop the criminal charges against a former Utah attorney general, Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings went on a rant about what the Department of Justice did or didn't do in the investigation.
Rawlings cited the DOJ not turning over what he believes is key evidence among his reasons for filing Monday to end the criminal case against Mark Shurtleff.
He touches on that and questions how federal agencies handled allegations of wrongdoing Shurtleff made about St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson, former Utah Attorney General John Swallow and Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, nearly three years ago.
"Today’s purpose: Yet again, the United States Department of Justice wants the media and public to focus on the number of pages it provided and ignore/disregard what it did not and will not produce," Rawlings wrote in a three-page memo emailed to the media that he called a "response to the United States Department of Justice."
Rawlings at the outset writes that he can't comment on his decision to drop the public corruption charges against Shurtleff. Shurtleff also declined Tuesday to say anything pending the judge's official dismissal order, though late Monday he posted on Instagram a photo of Lady Justice with the hashtag "justice."
On Tuesday, Shurtleff posted a photo of front-page stories in the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune about his case being dropped with several hashtags, including "gratitude," "falsecharges," "pictureworthathousandwords" and "staytuned."
Going off on the federal government isn't unusual for Rawlings, who has publicly expressed anger and frustration with the DOJ throughout the Shurtleff case. Last fall, he confirmed he was investigating Reid based on evidence he gathered in prosecuting Shurtleff.
Reid's office wrote it off as grandstanding. The senator's office did not immediately respond to an email request for comment on Rawlings' memo Tuesday. Shurtleff's attorney said he had no comment.
Scott Williams, who represents Swallow, said he wants the same evidence for his client's defense, adding that Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill has refused to go after it like Rawlings has.
Williams said he believes Rawlings' memo is not intended to suggest Swallow was involved in bribery related to Reid, which Williams said he confirmed with Rawlings in a phone call. He said the intention is to point out that the information Rawlings seeks from the federal government is legitimate and relevant to the case, and not having it forced him to end the Shurtleff prosecution.
Rawlings' latest missive comes in response to a statement the U.S. Attorney's Office in Colorado put out Monday, saying the FBI produced hundreds of thousands of electronic images and believes it has shared "all relevant documents and information" related to the prosecution of Shurtleff "within the parameters of the law."
The DOJ assigned the Colorado U.S. Attorney's Office to respond to Rawlings' request for information and evidence because the U.S. Attorney's Office in Utah recused itself from the investigations into Swallow and Shurtleff in May 2013. The DOJ's Public Integrity Section later declined to file charges against either one.
Rawlings wants to know what became of the allegations Shurtleff reported to the Utah U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI on separate occasions in November 2012 of Johnson and Swallow being involved in bribing or attempting to bribe Reid.
"What steps were taken to vet the concerns of a then-sitting Attorney General?" Rawlings wrote.
Johnson claims Swallow helped broker a deal to pay for Reid's help in thwarting a Federal Trade Commission investigation into Johnson's online marketing company, iWorks.
Swallow has said he only introduced Johnson to a friend with connections to federal lobbyists. Johnson paid Richard Rawle $250,000, but the FTC filed a complaint against iWorks before much lobbying was done. Reid has disavowed knowledge of Johnson's case.
"Was Senator Reid at the time Senate Majority leader and critical to the White House? Does the United States Department of Justice actually consider such conduct to be legal as long as it is called lobbying?" Rawlings wrote.
Rawlings also questions how far federal investigators pursued Johnson's claims that online poker figures instructed him to hide illegal campaign contributions to Reid through "straw" donors who were reimbursed from poker accounts in the bank.
Johnson also claims he wired $1 million to "some weird company" with the understanding Reid would introduce a bill to legalize online poker. Johnson processed online poker proceeds through the now-defunct SunFirst Bank in St. George at the time. Johnson told Swallow about the arrangement during a now infamous meeting at Krispy Kreme in Orem that Johnson secretly recorded.
Reid circulated legislation to legalize online gambling in December 2010 but didn't formally introduce it. Reid later reversed his position and now favors a ban on online gaming.
"Why did the United States Department of Justice not charge Jeremy Johnson, John Swallow and others for bribery, or attempted bribery of United States Senator Harry Reid with respect to online poker processing?" Rawlings wrote.
The head Davis County prosecutor said Johnson has been "honest for years" and admitted to attempting to do what he called "lobby" Reid.
"Does the United States Department of Justice actually consider such conduct to be legal as long as it is called lobbying? Did Mark Shurtleff sign off on this scheme (no) as being OK in Utah, or was it only John Swallow?" Rawlings wrote.
The prosecutor then refers to a section of the Utah House Special Investigative Committee report where Swallow tells Johnson in an email that he is not aware of any law in Utah that would prohibit online poker payment processing.
Rawlings questions whether the FBI was allowed to fully investigate any of those bribery allegations or was it "shut down."
"Is the United States Department of Justice upset that there have been no charges against anyone for any of the above, or is that the way they want it to remain?" he wrote.
Rawlings concludes the memo saying: "Does anyone care? Maybe not."
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