The Latest: Text messages wiped from lawmaker's phone

AP News
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Posted: Feb 08, 2018 7:41 PM
The Latest: Text messages wiped from lawmaker's phone

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on Utah officials investigating reports that a lawmaker who recently resigned hired a prostitute (all times local):

5:40 p.m.

Utah's House of Representatives says a state-issued cellphone used by a lawmaker accused of arranging trysts with a prostitute no longer contains his text messages.

British newspaper the Daily Mail reported Thursday that the prostitute claimed former Republican Rep. Jon Stanard used a number listed on his legislative website to set at least two encounters.

House Chief of Staff Greg Hartley confirmed the listed number was Stanard's state-issued cellphone.

Hartley says it's unclear who erased the content. He says Stanard resigned Tuesday night and the phone was collected Wednesday morning but was turned off until Thursday.

Hartley says he turned it on in response to a public records request for Stanard's text messages and discovered the phone had been reset.

Hartley says House officials are still reviewing Stanard's hotel bills and whether they correspond with the newspaper's allegations.

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2:40 p.m.

Utah's elections office says it's reviewing campaign finance reports of a state lawmaker who abruptly resigned to determine whether he may have used campaign money to arrange hotel trysts with a prostitute.

Utah Elections Director Justin Lee says state law bars any personal use of campaign cash and paying for a prostitute "would obviously fall outside of appropriate use of campaign funds."

Lee says elections officials began reviewing former Republican Rep. Jon Stanard's campaign reports Thursday after British newspaper the Daily Mail reported that Stanard hired a prostitute at least twice in 2017.

Lee declined to say how far back in Stanard's reports they are looking.

Stanard resigned Tuesday night. His lawyer, Wally Bugden, has declined to comment on the allegations.

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12:50 p.m.

The Utah House of Representatives is investigating whether a lawmaker who abruptly resigned used a state-issued cellphone and hotel room paid for with taxpayer money to arrange trysts with a prostitute.

House Speaker Greg Hughes declined to comment on a Thursday report in British newspaper the Daily Mail that former Republican Rep. Jon Stanard twice hired a prostitute in 2017.

House Chief of Staff Greg Hartley says he's checking legislative records to see if the chamber paid for hotel stays and the cellphone that the report alleges Stanard used.

Stanard, who stepped down Tuesday night, didn't respond to messages seeking comment Thursday.

His lawyer, Walter Bugden, declined to comment and didn't respond to a message asking if he was denying the Daily Mail report.