New felony charge levied against former Utah attorney general

SALT LAKE CITY – Prosecutors filed a new felony charge against former Utah Attorney General John Swallow Wednesday, just over two weeks ahead of a hearing that will determine if his case will proceed to trial.

The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office filed a second-degree felony money-laundering charge against Swallow, while also dropping a misdemeanor charge of failing to disclose conflict of interest.

Swallow now faces a total of 14 charges related to allegations of patterns of unlawful activity, soliciting or accepting bribes, accepting gifts where prohibited, tampering with evidence, and lying to investigators.

According to Deseret News, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill declined to go into detail about the money-laundering charge, though said the new charge is consistent with information already set forth in the existing probable cause statement.

If convicted, Swallow faces up to 30 years in prison.

Swallow, who became Utah’s Attorney General in 2013, resigned Nov. 21, 2013. He was ultimately replaced by Sean Reyes.

The new charge was filed the same day the county district attorney’s office also filed its list of 33 potential witnesses to appear during Swallow’s five-day preliminary hearing set for June 8. Among those names are indicted St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson, convicted businessman Marc Sessions Jenson, former Deputy Attorney General Kirk Torgensen, as well as former Swallow campaign worker and Utah Attorney General’s Office staff.

Former Utah Attorney General John Swallow | Stock image, St. George News
Former Utah Attorney General John Swallow | Stock image, St. George News

Jenson, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison on multiple counts of communications fraud and money laundering, has accused Swallow and his predecessor, former three-term Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, of shaking him down for money and vacations at his luxury villa in Newport Beach, California.

Johnson, who currently faces 85 counts of fraud, accuses Swallow of using his connections to help to orchestrate an alleged bribe of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, in order to eliminate actions against Johnson by the Federal Trade Commission, among other allegations. Both Reid and Swallow have denied the allegations.

Swallow and Shurtleff were arrested last July and had charges of corruption brought against them following a multi-agency investigation into alleged criminal activity.

Both men have maintained their innocence.

Swallow joined the attorney general’s office in 2009 after working as a member of Shurtleff’s reelection campaign. According to court documents, he told many that he was being groomed as Shurtleff’s heir apparent.

Shurtleff did not run for reelection in 2012, making way for Swallow to run and eventually win the 2012 election. In January 2013, just after Swallow had assumed office, Johnson made his allegations of corruption against the new attorney general that sparked multiple investigations by state and federal officials.

While some investigations were dropped along the way, others continued. Among them was an investigation by the Utah House, as well as a joint investigation between the Salt Lake County District and Davis County attorneys’ offices and the FBI.

On March 11, 2014, the Utah House released the findings of its investigation into Swallow’s alleged activities.

The House’s report alleges that during Swallow’s time in office, he “compromised the principles and integrity of the office to benefit himself and his political supporters. In so doing, Mr. Swallow breached the public’s trust and demeaned the offices he held. Indeed, the committee concludes that Mr. Swallow hung a veritable ‘for sale’ sign on the office door that invited moneyed interests to seek special treatment and favors.”

The charges currently levied against Swallow cover a period between Oct. 1, 2008, and Oct. 25, 2013, and were brought on by the investigation conducted with the aid of the FBI.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

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7 Comments

  • anybody home May 24, 2015 at 10:17 am

    If these two are not excommunicated for law-breaking, the LDS church will have a lot to answer for. Or do they just excommunicate women for law-breaking? Perhaps the LDS community could take another look in the mirror in light of all this and stop with the holier-than-thou-chosen-people performances.

    • fun bag May 24, 2015 at 11:41 am

      Fairy certain the LDS don’t excommunicate for most felonies because they don’t want to lose a huge chunk of their tithe-paying base. Maybe someone in the know will chime in…

  • Mean Momma May 24, 2015 at 10:45 am

    This guy is a piece of work. What a crook.

  • mshaw May 24, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Will John swallow? Be held accountable for his actions

  • 42214 May 24, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    All I know is he has a really bad name to do time in jail. He will be quite popular if you know what I mean.

  • ladybugavenger May 24, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    It brings me joy to see corrupt public officials indicted. Can hardly wait for the verdict.

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