SALT LAKE CITY – Another week, another update on the ongoing saga surrounding Utah Attorney General John Swallow. Last week words flew back and forth concerning missing data. Since then a deal has been reached between the attorney general’s office and House Special Investigative Committee concerning private data protected by federal law, allowing investigators continued access to electronic documents. The committee has also issued a series of subpoenas that include federally-indicted St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson.
Attorney general’s office and Committee
On Wednesday, the attorney general’s office announced that it and the Utah House committee had filed a joint protective order to provide records requested by the committee while also safeguarding private data. The order would protect data related to health and tax records, crimes against children, ongoing investigations and sealed court orders.
The attorney general’s office has already supplied over 8,000 documents to investigators, according to the statement. While providing the data it was discovered parts were protected under federal law.
Both the attorney general’s office and the committee are asking Third District Judge Su Chun to sign the joint order allowing the investigators to continue their work while also protecting the confidential data. If signed, the order will allow investigators to copy data from office hard drives and network servers. Data believed applicable to the investigation will be obtained by investigators, while protected information will be returned to the attorney general’s office.
The committee issued subpoenas requesting the data in September. The attorney general’s office did not hand over records due to the federally-protected information they contained.
There is a possibility that some of the data missing from computers and other electronic devices previously used by Swallow can be restored as greater access is given to investigators, but that remains to be seen. Swallow has denied any wrongdoing and has stated he did not delete anything.
The missing data covers a four-year period reaching back to when Swallow was the deputy attorney general.
The committee has issued 15 subpoenas since late September. On Tuesday, the committee issued subpoenas to Johnson, Tim Lawson, and Tosh, Inc.
Johnson has been indicted by the federal government on 86 counts of fraud for allegedly scamming customers of his iWorks company out of nearly $300 million. He is also the one who triggered the various investigations into Swallow, claiming the then deputy attorney general helped set up a bribe between Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. In return for the payoff, Reid would keep the Federal Trade Commission from investigating iWorks. Both Swallow and Reid deny the accusations.
A wide range of documentation is requested in Johnson’s subpoena, including information related to interactions with Swallow and Reid.
Lawson, a long-time friend of Shurtleff, had also been subpoenaed for a variety of information, including those related to Johnson, Swallow and his political campaign, and imprisoned businessman Marc Jenson, whose own allegations against Swallow and Shutleff lead to a federal investigation that was subsequently dropped.
The third subpoena was issued to Tosh, Inc., a Provo-based payday loan company that does business as Check City. Like Johnson and Lawson, the company is also asked to hand over any and all documents concerning Swallow and Reid, as well as records related to a cement plant project on which Swallow did consulting work.
The three latest subpoenas are to be answered by Nov. 25.
In addition to the Utah House committee, the county attorneys for Salt Lake and Davis counties continue to investigate Swallow with the aid of the FBI. The lieutenant governor’s office is also looking into Swallow to determine whether or not he failed to disclose certain information on 2012 campaign forms.
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