Utah Political Capitol has learned that the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is winding down its criminal investigation into Utah Republican Attorney General John Swallow and will likely conclude its case, possibly as early as next week, with no charges being brought.
Unless there is a last-minute shift in the case’s momentum, Swallow’s attorney, Rod Snow, could be notified with a clearance letter before the end of next week.
In an interview Thursday evening, Snow said he’s been in contact with the DOJ in Washington, D.C. during the probe. “We’ve been discussing the investigation with them, providing information and cooperating to refute the ridiculous assertions that appear in the press, including your articles,” Snow said. He said “the inferences and innuendos are not possibly based on fact, which we call reckless disregard for the facts.”
Snow said he’s not been given any timeline, but his sense is that the Swallow case might be dropped within two weeks. “It would be nice if they did but I don’t know that,” he said. “It’s an art form reading the tea leaves… I don’t know if they’ll send a letter or just call me up and tell me they’re closing down the investigation on Swallow.”
The public first became aware of the investigations and allegations of corruption, bribery and influence-peddling against Swallow back in January, less than a week after he took office.
UPC asked Swallow spokesman Paul Murphy if he knows about any forthcoming letter that the federal case is about to end without charges. “I can’t offer a statement on something that I don’t know to be a fact,” he replied in an email. It will not be fact, of course, until the letter of clearance actually arrives. But from what UPC has been told, that’s likely to happen.
According to law enforcement, a letter of clearance means that the DOJ has declined to prosecute. Whether that means they have found Mr. Swallow innocent, or they were just unable to come up with enough evidence to move forward with a prosecution, is anyone’s guess.
Meanwhile, there are four other investigations into the Attorney General that are still continuing, including the House of Representatives, the Utah Bar Association, the Lieutenant Governor’s office, and the state investigation by SLCO District Attorney Sim Gill and Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings. Gill and Rawlings’ ongoing case into both Swallow and former Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has had an evidence-sharing agreement with the FBI, which investigates for the DOJ. It remains to be seen how a conclusion of the federal probe without grand jury indictments will impact the local investigation and its evidence sharing should it proceed.
Eric Ethington contributed to this story