Investigative committee says Swallow fabricated evidence, destroyed data

Posted at 10:22 PM, Dec 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-20 00:22:44-05

SALT LAKE CITY – Investigators say former Utah Attorney General John Swallow fabricated evidence and destroyed untold amounts of data.

The details emerged during a five-hour hearing of the State House Special Investigative Committee held Thursday.

Steve Reich, special counsel for the House investigation, said investigators believe Swallow panicked.

“We believe the evidence here shows that Mr. Swallow panicked following the Krispy Kreme meeting, thinking about the consequences that would occur with his political run for attorney general if Mr. Johnson went public with his allegations, and that it was this panic that led him down a path of evidence elimination and evidence fabrication,” Reich said.

Investigators said Swallow began destroying data and faking documents after a meeting at a Krispy Kreme in Orem on April 30, a meeting with indicted St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson. Johnson talks about questions from the FBI, and he talks about intending to bribe the U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid through a friend of Swallow. The interview was taped, and an excerpt is below:

Jeremy Johnson:  “Even though I know d--- well we never paid you anything on this Reid deal, that's exactly the picture they'll be able to paint. They will be able to get an indictment, they will flash that out in the news, and it will be a nightmare. It doesn't matter if that's the truth or not.”

John Swallow: “Well then give me some kind of (inaudible).”

Jeremy Johnson: “That's what I'm saying.”

John Swallow: “Do you think they need you to do that?”

Jeremy Johnson: “What?”

John Swallow: “Do you think they need you to make that connection?”

Investigators said they believe the meeting spooked Swallow, who had received more than $23,000 that could be seen as a payoff from an associate of both men. Investigators said Swallow faked invoices.

Investigators also said Swallow claimed to have suffered an implausible amount of electronic mishaps, including, having office computers erased and replaced, home computer crashes, the erasing of thousands of emails, losing an external hard drive, losing an iPad and getting rid of a cell phone.

Reich said examination of documents indicated that Swallow attempted to falsify records regarding the roughly $23,000 more than a year after the fact.

"We asked for all the documents, and the only documents we got that reflected the contemporaneous work in terms of, you know, billing records were documents that we know for a fact now were fabricated in 2012 after the Krispy Kreme meeting,” he said.

Investigators compared Swallow’s day planner entries with electronic work records from the state.

“Here are the time entries for January 24, 2011: He claimed 12 hours of work at the Attorney General's Office, and he claimed 12 hours of work on the cement project for a total day of 24 hours," Reich said.

Investigators said Swallow has admitted to faking the entries. The meeting will continue into a second day on Friday, watch FOX 13 News for updates on the investigation’s findings.