A defiant Mark Shurtleff threw down the gauntlet against prosecutors, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill in particular, saying the 10 felony charges filed against him on Tuesday morning are false.
“Mr. Gill has brought charges he cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Shurtleff during an afternoon press conference at his attorney’s office. “He’s going to spend another million dollars of taxpayer money on this.”
Shurtleff is facing felony charges including bribery, witness tampering, evidence tampering, obstruction of justice and unlawful acts. Former Attorney General John Swallow was also charged with a dozen felony counts on Tuesday.
Shurtleff has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation, which he characterizes as a “political side show” by Gill.
“I have expressed a desire to meet with investigators for more than a year to hear what they had to say. I have been deprived of that opportunity by Mr. Gill. That should tell anyone about his political motive all coming in an election year in which he is running for a second term.”
Gill denies there’s a political motive behind the charges, noting that the charges not only come from two separate county prosecutors, but a bipartisan investigation by the Utah House and a separate probe by the Republican Lt. Governor’s office.
Shurtleff says many of the charges filed against him contain significant falsehoods, and the arrest warrants were obtained by misleading the judge who signed off on them.
“I thought I was dealing with fair-minded people on the other side, particularly Mr. Gill,” said Shurtleff. “Any capable prosecutor would jump at the opportunity to speak to the target of an investigation. We offered to do that, but they never took us up on that.”
Shurtleff also blames Gill for what he characterizes as intentional leaks to the media during the process.
“These leaks were attempts to sully my name and reputation with no meaningful opportunity to respond.”
Shurtleff says he’s excited to move forward.
“I spent 12 years as Utah’s Attorney General and committed myself to the job 24/7/365. I have never professed to be perfect. I never intentionally committed any violation of ethics. I have never misused or abused my position, and I certainly have never broken the law.”