Utah officials have arrested former Utah Attorneys General Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow on multiple state felony charges.
The state charges against the former attorneys general come after a two year investigation by the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office, the Davis County Attorney’s office, the FBI, and the Utah Department of Public Safety. Swallow was charged with 11 felonies including tampering with evidence, misuse of public money, and receiving or soliciting a bribe. Shurtleff was charged with 10 felonies including tampering with a witness, and obstructing justice.
But at a press conference held at his attorney’s office, Shurtleff insisted that he is innocent of any wrongdoing and will fight the charges.
“I, as all of us, made mistakes in my time as attorney general," Shurtleff says. "Probably, clearly, errors in judgment. But I have never intentionally committed any violations of the ethics, codes of ethics. I have never misused or abused the public trust, and I certainly have not violated and of the criminal laws in the state of Utah.”
Shurtleff also accused Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill and the FBI of being incompetent by failing to interview dozens of witnesses that could easily refute the charges. He also accused Gill’s investigation of being politically motived. He pointed to the fact that the U.S. Department of Justice investigated him for similar allegations last year but decided not to prosecute.
“The Department of Justice’s agenda must not have been political, because, believe me, the resources of the federal government in investigating and prosecuting crime far exceed that of any county prosecutor in the state of Utah,” he says.
But Gill refutes those claims saying the charges stemmed from information gathered not only by his office, but also by several other organizations, including a bi-partisan house committee and the Lt. Governor’s office. Gill also brought up the DOJ’s investigation, but unlike Shurtleff, indicated frustration with their inability to act.
“Really this case should not be something that we should be prosecuting as local prosecutors," Gill says. "It really needed to be somewhere else, but those are not calls that I get to make.”
Gill also says the arrests do not mark the end of their investigation and that there are several leads they are still following.