The charges come as part of joint effort between the FBI, Department of Public Safety and the district attorney offices of Salt Lake County and Davis County.
“This has been a complex and large investigation,” said Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill. “We’re continuing to investigate.”
Gill said they filed what he described as “appropriate and minimal” charges, noting they could have filed more based on the investigation. Gill added that more charges could be filed as the investigation into both men is ongoing.
During the press conference announcing the charges, Gill took a veiled shot at the Department of Justice who dropped a probe into both men last year.
“Part of the investigation was compromised when the Department of Justice dropped the case,” said Gill. “This is not something we should be prosecuting as local prosecutors. Fortunately we had a group of law enforcement officers who did their job when no other avenues were available.”
It appears many of the charges stem from incidents that are already public knowledge, and several of the charges come from the investigation into Swallow and Shurtleff by the Utah House of Representatives. That probe cost approximately $4 million.
The charges of witness tampering and destruction of evidence means that the men lied to investigators either with the FBI or during the Lt. Governor’s probe into campaign finance violations. The latter investigation prompted Swallow to resign from office.
When asked if the investigation was politically motivated, Gill was adamant.
“There are two different prosecutors from two juristictions. There was a bipartisan investigation by the House. There was an investigation done by a Republican Lt. Governor. All of this information points to a concern. There is absolutely no political motivation. These are serious crimes.”
In a statement, Gov. Gary Herbert said “This is a sad day for Utah. The entire situation, regardless of how the legal process plays out, is a black eye for our state. While we respect the rule of law and due process, this serves as a reminder that nobody is above the law and, if anything, public servants must be held to a higher standard.”
If found guilty, the two men could face up to 30 years in jail.