- Associated Press - Friday, March 3, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Latest on a former Utah attorney general acquitted on bribery charges (all times local):

4:55 p.m.

The head of Utah democrats worries that the acquittal of a former Utah attorney general on bribery charges will embolden other Republican leaders in the mostly-GOP state to believe they are above the law.

Utah Democratic Party Chairman Peter Corroon said Friday that the jury’s acquittal Thursday night of John Swallow doesn’t mean that he and his predecessor Mark Shurtleff didn’t commit ethical violations.

A jury found Swallow not guilty of nine counts that included bribery, obstruction of justice and evidence tampering.

Similar charges against Shurtleff were dismissed last year before his case got to trial.

Prosecutors accused Swallow and Shurtleff 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.

Corroon says questions remain about why the two top lawmen were associating at all with people like that. He says the root problem is that Republicans dominate Utah’s political leadership, creating a “one-party system” lacking in checks and balances. Swallow and Shurtleff are Republicans.

Shurtleff says Corroon doesn’t know the facts of the case and has no business making the case political.

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4:43 p.m.

Former Utah attorney general Mark Shurtleff says he plans to file state and federal lawsuits alleging abuse of power against authorities who investigated and charged him in a bribery case.

Shurtleff said Friday that he also plans to file a lawsuit on behalf of his family for the trauma they endured during a search warrant execution in the lead up to his 2014 arrest.

Shurtleff’s comments come a day after his successor, John Swallow, was acquitted by a jury of bribery charges.

Shurtleff’s case was dismissed last year.

Prosecutors accused Swallow and Shurtleff 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 alleged fraudsters and businessmen in exchange for favorable treatment.

Their arrests culminated a shocking fall from grace for two men who vowed to root out fraud and uphold the laws of Utah as they served a combined 13 years as attorney general.

Shurtleff was the state’s attorney general for more than a dozen years until his term ended at the end of 2012. He says the lawsuits will shed light on what he considers “unethical conduct” by authorities who investigated and charged him.

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11:55 a.m.

A day after he was acquitted on bribery charges, former Utah attorney general John Swallow is acknoweding having been “naive” and doing things he wish he wouldn’t have done.

Swallow spoke at length Friday on KSL Radio’s “Doug Wright Show” (https://bit.ly/2mjJGgn) along with this predecessor and the man also arrested on similar charges in 2014, Mark Shurtleff.

Swallow says despite being naive, he was innocent of the bribery and evidence tampering charges and never intended to dishonor the office. He says his case opened his eyes to the imbalance of power between prosecutors and defendants, and vowed to work to fix that in the future.

Prosecutors accused Swallow and Shurtleff 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.

A jury found Swallow not guilty of nine counts that included bribery, obstruction of justice and evidence tampering. He had faced one to 30 years in prison.

Shurtleff, who saw charges against him dismissed last year, said Friday he was not only naive but arrogant. He says he believed he was above reproach and put himself in position where he says convicted felons could make up stories about their interactions even if he never changed how he dealt with them.


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