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Shurtleff wants improper gift charges tossed

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Posted at 7:14 AM, Jul 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-02 09:14:42-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is asking for charges that he accepted improper gifts to be tossed.

In a filing late Friday, Shurtleff’s lawyers essentially argued Utah law doesn’t allow him to be charged with accepting improper gifts, when he could be charged under Utah’s bribery statute.

“Given the conduct’s chargeability as violations of Utah’s Bribery Statute, the Gift Statute, by its express terms, cannot be invoked to prosecute such conduct. The Utah Legislature has made it clear that chargeable violations of the Bribery Statute and the Gift Statute cannot be pleaded in the alternative and, by definition, neither is a lesser included offense of the other,” Shurtleff’s lawyer, Richard Van Wagoner wrote.

Shurtleff is accused of accepting trips to a posh California resort paid for by Marc Sessions Jenson, who faced prosecution by the Utah Attorney General’s Office. He is also accused of staying at the St. George home of Jeremy Johnson, who was recently convicted of making false statements in a federal white collar crime case (but acquitted on dozens of fraud counts).

Last week, Shurtleff’s lawyers asked for the entire case to be tossed. A judge has scheduled arguments on that for August. Shurtleff is scheduled to go on trial in October.