After being postponed seven times, the trial for former Utah Attorney General John Swallow has finally begun. The case had originally been scheduled to start in April 2015, but a judge rejected the defense's request that the trial be further postponed on Feb. 3. Swallow is charged with unlawful activity, accepting a gift, money laundering, making false statements, and three counts of receiving or soliciting a bribe, all second-degree felonies. He also stands accused of three counts of evidence tampering, misuse of public money, and obstruction of justice, all third-degree felonies, and one misdemeanor charge of falsifying government records.
The trial comes four years after allegations were first brought forward. The case has been one of the most high-profile criminal cases involving a politician since Utah became a state. Swallow resigned less than a year into his term, and was arrested by the FBI on July 15, 2014. State prosecutors allege that Swallow took part in a five-year long criminal conspiracy with former three-term Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Tim Lawson, a man who described himself as Shurtleff's fixer. The three were allegedly engaged in an effort to keep control the attorney general's office for their own gain.
All three men faced charges, but Lawson died in August 2016 before he could stand trial, and charges have been dropped against Shurtleff. Only Swallow will stand trial, but he has pleaded not guilty and claims the charges are politically motivated.
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