Former Utah attorney general pleads not guilty to corruption charges

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 29, 2015 6:59 PM

By Peg McEntee

SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - Former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges of public corruption, his lawyer said, in a scandal that embroiled him and his successor in a wide-ranging criminal investigation.

Shurtleff could face up to 30 years in prison if he is convicted on charges including accepting prohibited gifts, obstruction of justice, official misconduct and bribery, in five felony and two misdemeanor counts.

A Republican who served three terms as attorney general until 2013, Shurtleff was arrested in July 2014 along with the man who succeeded him in the job, John Swallow.

Swallow faces one misdemeanor and 13 felony charges including misuse of public funds, falsifying government records, racketeering and money laundering.

Swallow, also a Republican, resigned in November 2013, less than a year into his first term. He has yet to enter a plea.

Shurtleff appeared in Salt Lake City's 3rd District Court to enter the not guilty pleas, his attorney Richard Van Wagoner said. A pre-trial conference in the case was set for Aug. 10.

The prosecutor, Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings, did not immediately return a request for comment.

Prosecutors allege Shurtleff accepted gifts from Jeremy Johnson, an online marketer who gave thousands of dollars to Shurtleff's political campaigns, as well as free flights on the businessman's private jet.

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Johnson faces 86 federal charges related to his company, I Works, and has also been sued by the Federal Election Commission.

Shurtleff's case also includes trips he made to Pelican Hill, a resort near Newport Beach, California, that were paid for by Marc Sessions Jenson, a businessman now serving prison time for violating securities laws.

(Reporting by Peg McEntee; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Eric Beech)