The Latest: Jury acquits ex-Utah attorney general of bribery

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Posted: Mar 02, 2017 8:41 PM
The Latest: Jury acquits ex-Utah attorney general of bribery

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on a bribery trial for a former Utah attorney general (all times local):

6:35 p.m.

A jury is acquitting a former Utah attorney general of bribery and evidence tampering charges in one of the highest-profile scandals in state history.

The jury announced its verdict against John Swallow on Thursday in a Salt Lake City courtroom following a three-week trial. Swallow was found not guilty of nine counts. He had faced one to 30 years in prison.

Prosecutors accused Swallow of hanging a virtual "for sale" sign on the door to the state's top law enforcement office by taking campaign donations and gifts like beach vacations from fraudsters and businessmen in exchange for favorable treatment.

Swallow's defense attorneys argued that the case was a politically motivated smear campaign and that prosecutors were twisting the facts to fit the story they wanted to tell.

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6:25 p.m.

A jury has reached a verdict in the bribery trial of a former Utah attorney general that became one of the highest-profile scandals in state history.

State court spokesman Geoff Fattah tweeted Thursday that the jury has made a decision. The verdict will be read shortly in a Salt Lake City courtroom.

John Swallow is charged with nine counts, including bribery and evidence tampering. He faces one to 30 years in prison.

Prosecutors say Swallow played a key role in a bribery scheme that went well beyond relationships allowed between elected officials and campaign donors, including trading luxury trips for favorable treatment.

Swallow's defense called the case a desperate "house of cards" built on claims from an untrustworthy fraudster to try to make routine political dealings seem criminal.

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1:25 p.m.

A judge has denied a mistrial request by attorneys for a former Utah attorney general charged with bribery.

The request was made after the jury received erroneous instructions that included a money laundering charge that was dismissed during the trial.

Judge Elizabeth Hruby-Mills said Thursday in a written ruling that the mistake likely had a minimal impact on the jury taken in context with what was said during the trial and closing arguments. She said a note explaining the error that was given to the jury remedies the mistake.

Hruby-Mills says the mistake appears to be nothing more than a clerical error.

The 54-year-old John Swallow is charged with nine counts, including bribery and evidence tampering.

A jury of five men and three women has been went back into session Thursday morning after spending a couple of hours on the case Wednesday night after closing arguments.

Swallow's attorney, Scott Williams, argued that a mistrial was needed because there's no way to know how the money laundering charge influenced jury's deliberations.

Prosecutor Fred Burmester countered that the error doesn't warrant a mistrial because the charge was hardly discussed during trial and not mentioned in closing arguments.

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12:15 p.m.

Attorneys for a former Utah attorney general on trial for bribery are asking for a mistrial after the jury received erroneous instructions that included a money laundering charge that was dismissed during the trial.

Judge Elizabeth Hruby-Mills said Thursday she will make a decision soon.

The 54-year-old John Swallow is charged with nine counts, including bribery and evidence tampering.

His attorney, Scott Williams, says a mistrial is needed because there's no way to know how the money laundering charge influenced jury's deliberations. The jury went back into session Thursday morning after spending a couple of hours on the case Wednesday night after closing arguments.

Prosecutor Fred Burmester countered that the error doesn't warrant a mistrial because the charge was hardly discussed during trial and not mentioned in closing arguments.

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10:11 a.m.

A jury has resumed deliberating in the bribery trial of former Utah attorney general, one of the highest-profile scandals in state history.

A jury of five men and three women went back into session Thursday morning after spending a couple of hours on the case Wednesday night after closing arguments.

The 54-year-old John Swallow is charged with nine counts, including bribery and evidence tampering.

Prosecutors said during closing arguments that Swallow played key role in a bribery scheme that went well beyond relationships allowed between elected officials and campaign donors, including trading luxury trips for favorable treatment.

Swallow's defense called the case a desperate "house of cards" built on claims from an untrustworthy fraudster to try to make routine political dealings seem criminal.

The former top lawman did not testify during trial.