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Mark Shurtleff, former AG, resigns from DC law firm

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SALT LAKE CITY — Former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff no longer works at the international law firm that hired him as he left office six months ago.

Shurtleff told KSL that he resigned from Troutman Sanders LLP because the commute to its Washington, D.C., office and his public speaking around the country was too hard on his family.

"I just decided I couldn't do it anymore," he said in a brief telephone interview Saturday.

Shurtleff joined the firm after his third term as attorney general ended in January. He worked with its attorneys general team and its regulatory compliance and government litigation practice.

As recently as late last week, Shurtleff was listed as a partner on the Troutman Sanders website. But his name and biography did not appear on the online attorney directory Saturday. A link to a Dec. 17, 2012 press release announcing his hiring was removed as was an April 22 release about his testifying before Congress on immigration issues.


Shurtleff and his successor John Swallow, both Republicans, have come under fire the past few months for alleged misconduct in the attorney general's office. Both say they have done nothing wrong.

They are the subjects of at least two wide-ranging investigations — one being conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice and another by Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings and Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill.

When asked if his resignation had anything to do with the allegations, he said "no" and would not elaborate further about his decision.

The probes apparently involve imprisoned swindler Marc Sessions Jenson, who claims he hosted Shurtleff and Swallow at the upscale Pelican Hill resort in Newport Beach twice in 2009. Swallow, a private attorney and Shurtleff fundraiser at the time, made a third trip later that year with his wife.

Jenson in an interview from prison said the two enjoyed luxury lodging, food, golf and items from the pro shop on his dime.

Jenson said Shurtleff who was running for U.S. Senate at the time, and Swallow wanted to meet some of his wealthy friends whom they saw as potential campaign donors. Jenson also said Swallow told him that once he joined the attorney general's office, which we would do in October 2009, he could help with his legal troubles.

The Southern California trips came after the attorney general's office and Jenson reached a plea-in-abeyance agreement that included a fine but no jail time for selling unregulated securities. A 3rd District judge rejected that deal as too lenient. The judge accepted a second plea agreement that also allowed Jenson to avoid jail but imposed restitution totaling $4.1 million.

Jenson is now nearly two years into a 10-year prison term after he failed to repay the fraud victims. The FBI has interviewed him twice in prison, he said.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported last month about a secret recording in which Shurtleff is heard offering to get businessman Darl McBride $2 million from Jenson if he dropped his ongoing battle with another prominent businessman, Mark Robbins. McBride recorded the conversation and turned it over to federal agents.

At least three telemarketers also claim that Shurtleff offered special consideration or protection for their companies if they donated to his re-election campaign.

Video contributing: Ashley Kewish

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