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Political “fixer” tied to AG’s investigation appears in court

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Posted at 5:42 PM, Dec 18, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-18 19:42:54-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- A man who described himself as a political "fixer" and "best friend" to former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff appeared in court Wednesday.

Tim Lawson looked around the courtroom and smiled as he faced a judge, shackled and wearing a blue jail jumpsuit. Lawson is facing racketeering, witness intimidation, tax evasion and obstruction of justice charges.

Lawson is accused of taking more than $120,000 from accused white collar criminal Marc Sessions Jenson for "access" to Shurtleff. In an interview with FOX 13 in May, Lawson called himself a "best friend" of Shurtleff. Prosecutors in charging documents said Lawson also maintained a lot of communication with Swallow, exchanging 680 calls and text messages in a period of months.

Jenson has accused Shurtleff and Swallow of a "shakedown" as he faced criminal charges.

During his court appearance, Lawson's lawyer asked Third District Court Judge Su Chon for bail, saying he has been in jail for nearly a week. Chon wouldn't hear it and kept the bail at $250,000.

"I'm not going to address the issue of bail today," she told him. "You can take it up with the assigning judge."

Outside court, Lawson's attorney, Dana Facemyer, said Salt Lake County prosecutors refused to agree to bail.

"The prosecution advised me today that he would not agree to an issue of bail," Facemyer told reporters. "The judge seemed to be right in step with him."

Prosecutors refused to say what their concerns were with Lawson posting bail.

"We've set the bail and we'll let the procedure just go along with the way it's supposed to be laid out," said deputy Salt Lake County Attorney Fred Burmester. "For his benefit as well as ours."

Prosecutors also refused to say if they were going to level more charges against Lawson. He is the first to be charged in a joint criminal investigation by the Salt Lake County District Attorney and the Davis County Attorney into the scandals surrounding the attorney general's office.

Lawson will return to court on Jan. 6.

Related story: Search warrants for Shurtleff's phone records unsealed