- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 13, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Lawyers for former Utah Attorney General John Swallow asked a judge to dismiss an influence-peddling case against him Wednesday, arguing authorities wrongly obtained thousands of private communications between him and his previous attorney.

During a sometimes-heated court hearing, defense attorney Scott C. Williams said he’s still discovering additional private emails seized by investigators in 2014 and turned over to the state.

While prosecutors acknowledged that some emails made it through a filtering process, they insist they never read the messages among the mountains of evidence in the case.

“We didn’t see it, we didn’t view it. It might sound to be boring, but that’s the truth,” prosecutor Chou Chou Collins said.

Swallow is facing 13 charges of bribery, evidence tampering and other crimes. Prosecutors say he and his predecessor, Mark Shurtleff, accepted money and gifts, such as spa vacations, from businessmen seeking legal protections from regulators. Both former attorneys general have denied wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty.

Swallow’s defense attorneys said the promise that no prosecutors or investigators saw the emails isn’t enough. Williams called for a hearing to determine how they were handled if the case isn’t dismissed.

“Is it fair for Mr. Swallow to go on to face trial based on the promise of his accusers that they didn’t see anything they will use?” Williams said.

He argued that investigators purposely circumvented the filtering process, though authorities deny that. Judge Elizabeth Hruby-Mills didn’t immediately rule on the matter Wednesday.

Williams has said the correspondence included legal advice for interviews Swallow gave to state and federal investigators in 2013 about allegations Swallow had arrangements with businessmen and violated election laws.

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