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Shurtleff attends hearing, says state is blaming feds for bad search

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Posted at 7:27 PM, Jun 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-18 21:27:16-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Attorney General Mark Shurtleff attended a legislative committee without the usual entourage that used to accompany him when he served as the state's attorney general for 12 years.

Instead, he sat quietly with his 17-year-old daughter, Annie. The two of them were attending as interested citizens, with no official status.

In front of the meeting, the Colonel in charge of the Utah Highway Patrol and the Major who directs the state Bureau of Investigation testified about the search conducted at Shurtleff's home.

The two law enforcers said the search of Shurtleff's home was a "knock and announce," rather than a "no-knock" search. That means the subjects of the search are given time to answer the door before a search begins.

The person who answered the door? Seventeen-year-old Annie Shurtleff.

"They pointed guns at my daughter; You can see her, does she look like a threat?" Shurtleff asked outside of the committee hearing.

Shurtleff said the search was illegal, that he should have been home, and the searchers were rough without reason.

Major Brian Redd of the Utah Bureau of Investigation, not speaking directly about Shurtleff but rather about searches in general, said they are inherently dangerous, and caution demands officers and agents clear a home quickly for their own safety and the safety of residents.

"I mean, we've had two officers that were killed this year just stopping to help motorists. And so you always have to use caution, particularly when you are going into someone's residence. We recognize that's their palace," said Redd, referring to the deaths of Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Cory Wride and Draper Police Sgt. Derek Johnson.

Shurtleff said much of the testimony from Fuhr and Redd passed blame for the search to the FBI.

"Their agent has been in charge this entire time, Agent [Scott] Nesbitt and to pass this off and say, 'we don't know what happened. The FBI did it. It's not our fault,'" Shurtleff said.

Shurtleff said the co-chair of the Interim Committee on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, Senator Todd Weiler, was intentionally giving state investigators a venue to blame the Feds.

Weiler said he was simply asking questions after hearing Shurtleff claim the search was illegal.

"My motive is, I'm a state lawmaker, and I heard a person with a lot of media influence say that the department that reports to my committee did something wrong, and I wanted to know if that was true, and what I heard today was that they didn't do anything wrong," Weiler said.