Shurtleff says charges against him are too vague

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SALT LAKE CITY — Former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff says the criminal charges against him are so vague that's he's left to guess which days he is accused of committing certain crimes.

Shurtleff filed a motion in 3rd District Court Thursday asking the court to force prosecutors to supply him with a specific list of the crimes they believe he committed as well as a list identifying the witnesses the state intends to call.

In July, Shurtleff was charged with three counts of bribery, two counts of illegally accepting gifts or loans and one count each of pattern of unlawful activity, accepting employment that would impair judgment, witness tampering, evidence tampering and obstructing justice.

In addition, former Utah Attorney General John Swallow was charged with three counts each of bribery and evidence tampering, and one count each of pattern of unlawful activity, accepting a gift when prohibited, making false statements, obstructing justice, misuse of public money, falsifying government records, and failing to disclose a conflict of interest.

The 23 counts were filed following an unprecedented public corruption investigation by the Utah Department of Public Safety and the FBI. If convicted, they each face as many as 30 years in jail. Both former attorneys general have maintained their innocence and said they intend to fight the charges, which they contend are politically motivated.

In his latest motion, Shurtleff asks that prosecutors be required to provide the "precise statutory sections or subsections it claims were violated and the specific facts" from the probable cause statement that show he violated those laws.

"The information is unconstitutionally vague," Shurtleff's attorney wrote in his motion. "Mr. Shurtleff is entitled to precision sufficient to inform him of the specific statutory elements" the state is basing its charges on.

"The best Mr. Shurtleff can do is guess," the motion states.

The court filing also asks state prosecutors to hand over their list of witnesses they intend to call in their case so Shurtleff can subpoena witnesses himself or prepare to cross-examine those witnesses.

He is scheduled to be back in court again on Oct. 20.

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Pat Reavy


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