Utah ex-AGs arrested for bribery, Sen. Reid dragged into scandal

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Salt Lake City, UT, United States (4E) – Two former attorneys general of Utah were arrested on Tuesday on charges of bribery and other unlawful conducts, including an alleged attempt to arrange a meeting between a co-accused businessman and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff were arrested in their home and taken to the Salt Lake County Jail for booking. Their bail was set at $250,000 and both were released at 12:15 p.m. and 11:45 a.m., respectively.

Shurtleff, the state AG from 2000 to 2012, was charged with 10 felony counts, including receiving or soliciting bribes, accepting gifts, tampering with witnesses and evidence, and participating in a pattern of unlawful conduct. Swallow, whom Shurtleff handpicked as his successor in 2013 but resigned in December, was charged with 11 felonies and two misdemeanors, including the same charges against his predecessor.

According to court filings of Utah County District Attorney Sam Gill, who is prosecuting the corruption case, both Republican AGs took illegal gifts from businessman Jeremy Johnson, who is accused of fraud in an 86-count indictment connected to his once lucrative Internet marketing company, iWorks. The gifts included riding Johnson’s private jet, staying in his St. George homes and borrowing his houseboat.

In 2010, Johnson allegedly approached and requested Swallow and Shurtleff to set him up for meetings with Sens. Reid and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) so he can get help in his problem with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Swallow referred an intermediary to secure the meeting with Reid and Johnson wired $250,000 to that person, who subsequently sent money to Swallow.

Johnson told investigators the money was for securing Sen. Reid’s help in his problem with the FTC. Reid had denied the allegations.

Shurtleff and Swallow also allegedly stayed in the lavish Newport villa of businessman Marc Sessions Jenson, who is now jailed for securities-related charges.

Shurtleff’s attorney, Max Wheeler, said the charges were politically motivated. Swallow proclaimed his innocence. Gill denied any political motivation for charging the two ex-AGs.

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