Former Utah attorney general files $60M lawsuit over corruption case

Former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, appears in court, Salt Lake City, Utah, Sept. 28, 2015. | Courtroom pool file photo by Francisco Kjolseth/Salt Lake Tribune, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has sued several dozen officials and agencies involved in a failed corruption case against him.

In a 21-page complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, Shurtleff accuses county, state and federal authorities of causing him emotional distress, humiliation and depriving his enjoyment of life. He is seeking $60 million in damages.

The suit claims authorities acted maliciously by using “false, fraudulent and perjured” search warrants to enter Shurtleff’s suburban Salt Lake City home and unlawfully seize his personal property.

Shurtleff also alleges that authorities used excessive force to enter the home when they knew he was not there, including wearing body army and wielding assault rifles. They physically, verbally and emotionally abused members of his family, the lawsuit claims.

Shurtleff’s wife and two children are also listed as plaintiffs.

The suit named more than 40 defendants, including Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, whom Shurtleff claimed led a conspiracy against him in part to advance Gill’s political career.

In a text message, Gill said he had not reviewed the lawsuit but his office would treat it like all other litigation.

“We trust our process,” Gill said.

Shurtleff, a former three-term attorney general, had faced pay-to-play charges after prosecutors said he and his successor John Swallow accepted money and gifts such as beach vacations from businessmen in trouble with regulators.

Charges against Shurtleff were dropped in 2016. Prosecutors at the time pointed to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning the bribery conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell that they said narrowed the scope of charges in influence-peddling cases.

For his lawsuit to be successful, Shurtleff will have to meet a high legal bar intended to protect authorities acting in good faith, said University of Utah law professor Wayne McCormack.

He’d need to show “obvious misrepresentations or showings of personal malice that were overriding judgment,” McCormack said. “Something along that line would have to overcome the presumption that a warrant is issued validly.”

Shurtleff unsuccessfully sued the state last year for $1.1 million in legal fees to cover his defense.

Written by JULIAN HATTEM, Associated Press

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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5 Comments

  • ladybugavenger June 8, 2018 at 5:42 am

    Oh my word! Heck no!
    Everyone who is found not guilty goes through this same distress. Welcome to America!
    Not everyone who is found not guilty in a court of law is innocent.

  • Carpe Diem June 8, 2018 at 7:13 am

    What a terrible person. This is the guy that gave the USA Jeremy Johnson and his 250 mil fraud on consumers… and then John Swallow.

    His attorney must be desperate. Hope he is ok with working pro bono, and can afford his team and him taking a year off with no pay.

    S’okay, in these kinds of lawsuits we get to view all that dirty laundry (and there is much more) all over again.

  • asianspa June 8, 2018 at 9:52 am

    This guy’s hands were so deep in Jeremy’s pockets, one of them owes the other a cuddle and a cigarette. This guy was never about serving the public,… if you really cared about serving the public you wouldn’t be hoping to stick the taxpayer with the $60m bill whether you feel wronged or not. You did plenty of dirty deeds, just take your dirty money and move on already…

  • Kilroywashere June 8, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    Been following this case for couple years and I could see from the beginning no justice would prevail. White collar crime is unenforceable and the vast sums of money involved simply shut down the legal system. Every now and then a uber wealthy celebrity or unscrupulous CEO, are put out to pasture as sacrificial lambs. Billionaires only go to jail if they want too. The next tier depending on connections are also impregnable. So dont be surprised when this case settles out of court for $5-10 Million. Meanwhile some poor bloke is sitting in Purgatory for warrants they couldn’t afford to pay. While a drug addict spmewhere is doing hard time after becoming addicted from a soccer injury to opiods, and spiraling down into hell, because the healthcare industrial complex got it wrong after selling out to a painkiller marketing campaign. As Alannis Morrisette’s 90s hit goes “Isn’t It Ironic”.

  • mmsandie June 9, 2018 at 8:31 am

    This guy , swallows and Jeremy Johnson should all share all cell and discuss their case.. politicians will try anything to make money and support others breaking the law.. big payoff??? I doub5 it, only lawyers will,make the money for any reason..

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