12:14, March 03 290 0 abajournal.com

2017-03-03 12:14:11
Former Utah Attorney General Swallow is acquitted, praises Constitution

Former Utah Attorney General John Swallow expressed gratitude for a Constitution that protects the rights of the accused after his acquittal Thursday on public corruption charges.

Jurors deliberated more than 12 hours before acquitting Swallow on nine charges, including receiving or soliciting a bribe and making false statements, report the Salt Lake Tribune, the Deseret News and Fox 13 Now. Prosecutors had dropped four other charges during the trial after a key witness invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to testify.

“We’re just so grateful and the system did work,” Swallow said. “I’m grateful for my lawyers. I’m grateful for my family and I’m grateful for our faith, and we’re just glad it’s over.”

Prosecutors had claimed Swallow conspired with his predecessor, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, to accept illegal gifts and campaign contributions from people seeking favorable treatment in legal matters. Prosecutors had also alleged Swallow lied in a deposition and an FBI interview. Swallow resigned from office during the investigation.

A Utah judge had dismissed the case against Shurtleff last year after prosecutors sought to drop charges, citing speedy trial concerns, the inability to deliver exculpatory evidence before trial, and an ongoing cooperation agreement.

Shurtleff told Fox 13 he considered the Swallow verdict a vindication. “There was a lot of testimony about me and alleged criminal conduct in concert with John, and it was rejected by the jury so it’s absolute vindication,” he said.