Utah AG cleared in federal bribery investigation

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah Attorney General John Swallow has been cleared in a bribery investigation by the Department of Justice's public integrity section, spokesman Paul Murphy said Thursday.

Swallow learned the news from his attorney Thursday morning, Murphy said. Former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff told KSL Radio's Doug Wright earlier Thursday that his attorney told him he also has been cleared.

Federal prosecutors were investigating a claim made by indicted businessman Jeremy Johnson, accused of running a fraudulent $350 million scheme, that Swallow arranged a deal to pay U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to quash a federal investigation. Reid has denied the allegation.

In January, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Utah handed over the probe to the public-integrity section of the U.S. Justice Department.

The Justice Department declined to discuss the case Thursday, saying that as a matter of policy it doesn't comment when investigations are opened and closed.

A Utah House committee has opened its own investigation into Swallow in a process that could lead to impeachment. That committee is in the infancy stages of the inquiry. The investigation could cost as much as $3 million, according to estimates from legislative analysts.

Swallow also is the subject of complaints at the Utah State Bar, and the state elections office is investigating allegations that he violated campaign disclosure laws by failing to disclose several business interests.

Swallow repeatedly has denied wrongdoing and says he is confident his name will be cleared in all investigations.

On KSL Radio's Doug Wright show, Swallow said it's been a humbling, terrible process. He said he's proud he stuck it out and continued the work of his office.

"This has been has hard, but life is hard," Swallow said. "I want people of Utah to know that I'm grateful, humble, and I'm excited to serve."

Earlier Thursday, Shurtleff also went on the Doug Wright show. With his voice breaking, Shurtleff told Wright that the ongoing investigation took a toll on him and his family.

"I always knew at the end of the day there was nothing they could charge me with," Shurtleff said on the show. "Obviously I couldn't be more pleased and grateful."