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State justice’s signature allegedly forged on ethics reform petition

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Posted at 8:42 PM, May 31, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-01 00:58:59-04

SALT LAKE CITY - The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office and the FBI are investigating a possible forger of Utah Supreme Court Justice Christine Durham's signature.

Court documents say the alleged electronic forgery can be traced to a computer in the Utah House of Representatives.

Investigators are now trying to find out who allegedly forged Durham's name on an electronic initiative petition for a legislative ethics law back in March 2010 during the legislative session.

The alleged forgery didn't come to light until July 20, 2012, when the Attorney General's Office asked Durham to recuse herself from hearing arguments surrounding the petition because she had signed it.

Five days later, Durham filed a sworn affidavit stating she did not sign or authorize the use of her signature or identifying information on any petition, written or electronic, for the Government Ethics Reform initiative.

An attorney for Utahns for Ethical Government, who sponsored the petition, said the signature came from a computer located in the Utah State Capitol complex, which was later found to be in the Utah House of Representatives.

"It's a very, very serious allegation. Justice Durham certainly didn't make it up. I hope that the Legislature will take it upon themselves to begin a serious immediate inquiry and not just pawn it off on law enforcement agencies. Utah state legislators have to start requiring a level of moral and ethical standards and they need to be enforced by the legislature," said Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill says his office, the FBI and Salt Lake City police are investigating the incident. They are still trying to determine who had access to the computer the signature was traced to.