It may seem like the Utah Attorney General's Office is under fire. For months reports have come out about how the Attorney General supposedly bribed people and improperly used campaign funds. Now a man behind bars is claiming State Attorney General John Swallow and the former Attorney General Mark Shurtleff both told him they'd go easy on his case if he gave them money.
Soliciting bribes and extortion, it's something you hear about in mob movies. But Thursday those are the claims Utah inmate Marc Jenson is making against Attorney General Swallow and former Attorney General Shurtleff.
Right now Jenson is in prison for violating a plea agreement he made on charges of illegally selling securities or investments. A source told ABC 4 Utah, Jenson spoke to them about the allegations and claims Swallow and Shurtleff played an illegal role with Jenson's plea deal, and his subsequent violation. According to the source, Jenson was told if he took care of Shurtleff and Swallow, they would take care of him.
So Jenson paid for Swallow and Shurtleff to enjoy themselves at a ritzy golf course in Newport Beach, California called Pelican Hill. In fact the Salt Lake Tribune posted the receipts of the trip on their website.
ABC 4 Utah is told Jenson paid money to a man named Tim Lawson, which made its way to the Attorney General. It was so much the money it totals at least six figures. When Jenson eventually stopped paying, the help supposedly stopped too.
When ABC 4 Utah asked Swallow for comment his office sent us this statement:
"Mr. Swallow first met Mr. Jenson while coaching Mr. Jenson's nephew in Little League Baseball. Their interactions occurred when Mr. Swallow was in private practice before he joined the Attorney General's Office. He never told Mr. Jenson or anyone else to pay Mr. Lawson. He never promised to help Mr. Jenson if he breached his plea arrangement. He was never retained as Mr. Jenson's attorney. Mr. Swallow walled himself off of the Jenson investigation and prosecution in approximately June, 2011. Mr. Jenson is in prison serving his sentence and is being aggressively prosecuted by the Attorney General's Office on additional felony charges." – Paul Murphy, Spokesperson, Utah’s Attorney General’s Office.
Whether or not the allegations against the Attorney General are true, one Utah politician said it's bad for Utah tax payers.
“When you look at all of the issues, the Attorney General has to be spending a lot of time looking at his own personal legal issues and not at the legal issues of the state,” said Jim Dabakis, Utah Democratic Party Chair.
From what ABC 4 Utah is told, when you're hearing help stopped for Jenson, our source is saying that means he's being charged with new counts of communications fraud and money laundering.
Follow Brian Carlson on Twitter: @tv_briancarlson