SALT LAKE CITY – An April 2016 trial date for former Utah Attorney General John Swallow was canceled Monday. The judge presiding over the case struck the trial date in order to allow Swallow’s new attorney time to prepare.
Swallow’s new attorney, Scott C. Williams, who replaced Stephen McCaughey in November, told the court he would need additional time to review evidence related to the case, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Evidence provided to Williams by prosecutors thus far, amounts to around two terabytes of data. Deputy Salt Lake County District Attorney Chou Chou Collins, who did not object to the request for more time, said her office anticipates handing another 1.5 terabyte of data over to the defense for review by the end of the year.
Third District Judge Elizabeth Hruby-Mills granted the request, struck the trial date and scheduled a review hearing for April 4.
Swallow was unable to appear in court due to adverse winter weather conditions and was excused by the judge.
Following the hearing, Williams told the Deseret News he is seeking evidence from the FBI and other federal agencies related to Swallow’s case that may be beneficial to his client’s defense. The U.S. Department of Justice investigated Swallow, as well as his predecessor, Mark Shurtleff, yet ultimately dropped the investigation in 2013 and declined to press charges.
“The federal government investigated my high-profile client and declined to file any charges. Seems like there might be something interesting there,” Williams said, the Deseret News reported.
Shurtleff’s case is being handled by the Davis County Attorney’s Office, which is demanding the FBI hand over evidence related to their investigation. Williams said he was told he would get access to the same information the Davis County Attorney’s Office could receive from the DOJ.
The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s hasn’t requested the same information in Swallow’s case.
Shurtleff, 57, who also faces public corruption charges, pleaded not guilty in June. His next court hearing is set for Feb. 17, 2016, with a trial date set for May 2016.
Swallow, 53, faces 11 felony charges and two misdemeanor charges related to public corruption that include accusations of alleged money laundering, patterns of unlawful activity, tampering with evidence, lying to investigators, accepting or soliciting bribes, and accepting prohibited gifts.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges in July. If convicted, Swallow could spend up to 30 years in prison.
Swallow served as Utah’s Attorney General for 11 months before resigning in December 2013 amid a scandal and ongoing investigations of public corruption.
In the months following his resignation, the Utah House released the findings of its own investigation into Swallow’s conduct, which claims he “hung a veritable ‘for sale’ sign on the office door that invited moneyed interests to seek special treatment and favors.”
In additional to his criminal case, Swallow may also be facing a civil case brought against him by the Federal Election Commission. Last Friday, the FEC asked a U.S. District judge to list Swallow as a co-defendant in a civil lawsuit against St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson.
The FEC accuses Swallow of working with Johnson to arrange illegal contributions through the use of straw donors to the political campaigns of U.S. Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, and former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, according to the Fox 13 News.
The case brought against Swallow is the culmination of a two-year long, joint-investigation between the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office and Davis County Attorney’s Office with the aid of the FBI and other agencies. It ultimately resulted in the arrest of Swallow and Shurtleff, last year.
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