Former Utah attorney general pleads not guilty to bribery

Jul 27, 2015, 10:36 AM
FILE – In this July 30, 2014, file photo, former Utah Attorney General John Swallow arrives a...
FILE - In this July 30, 2014, file photo, former Utah Attorney General John Swallow arrives at court, in Salt Lake City. Swallow is expected to plead not guilty to 13 charges of bribery and other counts when he appears in a Salt Lake City courtroom Monday, July 27, 2015. Swallow is a Republican who resigned in late 2013 amid a mass of investigations and pay-to-play accusations. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A former Utah attorney general pleaded not guilty Monday to 13 charges of bribery and other crimes after prosecutors say he accepted beach vacations and use of a luxury houseboat from businessmen in trouble with regulators.

John Swallow resigned in late 2013 amid the accusations and was arrested last summer, but he has denied any wrongdoing and said he looks forward to clearing his name in court. His predecessor, Mark Shurtleff, also was charged in the more than yearlong investigation.

Swallow, wearing a suit and tie, did not speak in a Salt Lake City courtroom Monday and allowed his attorney to enter the pleas on his behalf. He declined to comment to reporters outside court.

In addition to using a luxury jet and houseboat belonging to a businessman now facing fraud charges, Swallow and Shurtleff enjoyed meals, golf and massages at a high-end resort in Newport Beach, California, courtesy of another businessman who had been charged with fraud by their office, according to court documents.

They also accepted gifts and tens of thousands of dollars in cash and campaign contributions from people who faced or expected to face scrutiny from the attorney general’s office in hopes of throwing off investigators or shaking off criminal charges, prosecutors said.

Plus, Swallow’s former employer, a payday loan titan based in Nevada, gave Swallow a dozen 1-ounce gold coins when he left to join the attorney general’s office.

While working under Shurtleff, Swallow later sold back the coins one at time, receiving $17,000 in all, prosecutors said.

Both men, who are Republicans, face a maximum of 30 years in prison if convicted. Shurtleff has pleaded not guilty to seven charges of obstructing justice, accepting improper gifts and other counts.

Shurtleff, 57, and Swallow, 52, spent a combined 13 years running the state’s top law enforcement office. Shurtleff left in early 2013 after deciding to forgo another term and instead work in the private sector. Swallow was Shurtleff’s hand-picked successor, but he stepped down after less than a year in office.

When he announced his resignation in November 2013, Swallow adamantly denied breaking any laws but said the toll of the scrutiny had become too much for him and his family.

Swallow decided to bypass a preliminary hearing in the case. His lawyer, Stephen McCaughey, said there was enough evidence to send the case to trial, but the defense had little to gain by publicly airing it before it a jury can consider it.

A judge on Monday scheduled Swallow’s trial for April 2016. No trial date has been set for Shurtleff.


Follow Michelle L. Price at .

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

United States News

Associated Press

Climate bill: Could coal communities shift to nuclear?

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A major economic bill headed to the president has “game-changing” incentives for the nuclear energy industry, experts say, and those tax credits are even more substantial if a facility is sited in a community where a coal plant is closing. The transformative bill provides the most spending to fight climate change […]
5 hours ago
ADDS NAME OF DETAINED PERSON Law enforcement officers detain Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, N.J., out...
Associated Press

Author Salman Rushdie on ventilator after New York stabbing

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. (AP) — Salman Rushdie, whose novel “The Satanic Verses” drew death threats from Iran’s leader in the 1980s, was stabbed in the neck and abdomen Friday by a man who rushed the stage as the author was about to give a lecture in western New York. A bloodied Rushdie, 75, was flown to […]
5 hours ago
FILE - Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., speaks before President Joe Biden signs the $1.2 trillion bipa...
Associated Press

Sinema took Wall Street money while killing tax on investors

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the Arizona Democrat who single-handedly thwarted her party’s longtime goal of raising taxes on wealthy investors, received nearly $1 million over the past year from private equity professionals, hedge fund managers and venture capitalists whose taxes would have increased under the plan. For years, Democrats have promised to raise […]
1 day ago
FILE- Internal Revenue Service taxes forms are seen on Feb. 13, 2019. The flagship climate change a...
Associated Press

Expanded IRS free-file system one step closer in Dems’ bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The flagship climate change and health care bill passed by Democrats and soon to be signed by President Joe Biden will bring U.S. taxpayers one step closer to a government-operated electronic free-file tax return system. It’s something lawmakers and advocates have been seeking for years. For many Americans, it’s frustrating that beyond […]
1 day ago
FILE - In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, air force and naval aviation corps of ...
Associated Press

China sending fighter jets to Thailand for joint exercises

BANGKOK (AP) — The Chinese air force is sending fighter jets and bombers to Thailand for a joint exercise with the Thai military on Sunday. The training will include air support, strikes on ground targets and small- and large-scale troop deployment, the Chinese Defense Ministry said in a statement posted on its website. China’s expanding […]
1 day ago
FILE - This Aug. 9, 2020, still image taken from officer video provided by the Albuquerque Police D...
Associated Press

Suspect in 4 New Mexico killings left trail of violence

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — In the six years since he resettled in the United States from Afghanistan, the primary suspect in the slayings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque has been arrested several times for domestic violence and captured on camera slashing the tires of a woman’s car, according to police and court records. The […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Former Utah attorney general pleads not guilty to bribery