SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Democrats are calling for an independent prosecutor to conduct a probe after allegations against Attorney General John Swallow came to light Friday.
The Republican is accused of arranging a $600,000 bribe to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to get the Federal Trade Commission to back off the investigation of former St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson's company, iWorks. Saturday, Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis said he was contacting U.S Attorney General Eric Holder asking for a special prosecutor and hoped Gov. Gary Herbert and Swallow would support him in the request.
Johnson's company is accused of sending software to consumers for a free trial and then billing them. Johnson was arrested in 2011 and later charged with one count of mail fraud related to his business operations.
Friday, a federal plea deal fell apart when he and prosecutors disagreed over the terms and a list of people Johnson wanted ensured protection against prosecution. Johnson will now go to trial pleading not-guilty.
According to sources, Swallow was on that list.
Swallow issued a statement Saturday saying he had met Johnson in 2010, and that the man claimed that the Federal Trade Commission was treating the investigation of his business unfairly. Swallow said he introduced Johnson to a friend and former client with relevant experience. He denies any involvement with a bribe, however.
Prosecutors said they plan to file a new indictment in the Johnson case within a month, but gave no comment on whether other people besides Johnson would be charged.
If convicted, Johnson could face decades in prison. He is currently free on a $2.8 million bond.