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Bruce Lindsay ReportingInstead of driving to court today, Dave Johnson drove to work, free from the cloud of federal prosecution hanging over him.
Since Johnson was acquitted of bribery charges on Friday, along with Tom Welch, this go-to guy who got Salt Lake its Olympics -- then went from hero to outcast-- is trying to put his life back together.
The scene was one of joy for Dave Johnson on Friday when the judge through out all charges against him. It's a bookend to another happy scene that's been played on television again and again.
In Budapest, Hungary when in the moment of victory, Johnson's wife, Kim, jumped over a table to embrace him.
Johnson: "I look back to the Budapest image, and it seems like a lifetime ago. A lifetime ago.”
The Johnsons spoke to KSL in their home today about their ordeal. We should disclose that Kim Johnson is on leave as an employee of KSL Television News.
Dave Johnson: “Oh, it's like a big burden has been taken off our shoulders. I mean, it's very threatening, fighting the federal government."
It's been five years since Johnson's quest unraveled, when he was forced to resign his post on the Organizing Committee. For more than a year he couldn't find another job. Legal bills were piling up. SLOC at the time wouldn't pay. Kim Johnson lost her job at KTVX, and they were about to lose their home.
Johnson: "We were with in a day or two of signing documents to give them whatever we had."
The Johnsons say coming that close to losing everything material gave them a new sense of what they valued.
Johnson: “The smallest things started meaning so much to us. Whether it was a note that we received in the mail."
Dave Johnson: “I had to learn some very hard lessons, probably earlier than most people have to learn them. And we learned them in a very condensed period of time. And some of the lessons we learned are who our friends are…Another hard lesson I learned is how far people will run when there's criticism about conduct. And how far they will go to try to play like they didn't know anything. That was a hard lesson.”
Kim Johnson: “That was betrayal. That was betrayal.”