Former Utah Attorneys General Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow made their first court appearance today as defendants against several charges of corruption and bribery.
Shurtleff and Swallow’s initial appearance in the Third District Court was brief. It lasted about 3 minutes. The two stood together and waived the reading of the 23 charges Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill has brought against them.
Before entering the court, Shurtleff spoke briefly with a large crowd of reporters. He said he’s been receiving a lot of support.
“People believe in me and my 14 years of service. They believe in our family. They believe in justice," he said. "They’re as anxious as we are that the truth be told and it hasn’t been told yet and now I get to tell the truth.”
He also said that he expects to go to trial, unless the charges are thrown out before then.
“There’s no plea. What would I plea to? No, there’s nothing to plea to. When I say that these are frivolous false charges I absolutely mean it.”
Shurtleff’s attorney Richard Van Wagoner also gave a statement after the appearance and criticized how Gill has handled the case.
“We are going to maintain our ethical obligation and not discuss trial strategy in the public or comment on the evidence in public, contrary to what has occurred with the district attorney’s office,” Van Wagoner said.
Swallow on the other hand, said hardly anything to the media as he exited the courtroom.
“The facts will show that I’m innocent of all the things they’ve said I’ve done," said Swallow. "And that’s all I have to say.”
Swallow and Shurtleff’s next court date will be a scheduling hearing on August 18. The case has been assigned to Judge Elizabeth Hruby-Mills.