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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah polygamist who pleaded guilty for his role in a nearly $500 million biodiesel fraud scheme says a California businessmen who helped him carry out the plan offered protection from prosecution from law enforcement. Jacob Kingston said Thursday during a trial that he and Lev Dermen had meals with law enforcement officials, including two who have since pleaded guilty to corruption charges. He says Dermen called them his “umbrella.” Dermen has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts including money laundering and mail fraud. Kingston agreed to testify against Dermen after he pleaded guilty last year to money fraud and other charges.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The U.S. government is implementing final management plans for two national monuments in Utah that President Donald Trump downsized. The plans ensure lands previously off-limits to energy development will be open to mining and drilling despite pending lawsuits. Casey Hammond of the U. S. Department of the Interior said Thursday on a conference call with reporters that the agency can't wait for lawsuits to be decided. He said they have a duty to create the plans after Trump signed his proclamations in December 2017. Hammond says there has been limited interest from energy companies in the two years since the lands became open to development.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Mitt Romney’s status as one of few Republicans willing to publicly criticize President Donald Trump is well known is his adopted home of Utah, but many were still surprised by his impeachment vote against him and unequivocal speech Wednesday. Reactions were at odds in a state where Republicans are unusually divided on the president. There was plenty of frustration and anger from Trump supporters, but others were heartened to see what Romney described as an agonizing vote dictated by his conscience. Still, Romney has a deep well of goodwill in Utah and four years to explain his stance to voters before an re-election campaign.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah kidnapping and rape survivor Elizabeth Smart says she was sexually assaulted on an airplane last year. Smart said on “CBS This Morning” Thursday that she was sleeping when she felt someone’s hand rubbing her inner thigh. She says the last time someone touched her without permission was when she was kidnapped as a 14-year-old girl. Smart spokesman Chris Thomas says the July 19 attack is being investigated by the FBI and Delta Air Lines. FBI spokeswoman Sandra Barker said she could not confirm or deny an investigation exists. Delta said it's cooperating with the investigation.