Witness and suspect dies, but case against John Swallow still on for now

Posted at 6:35 PM, Aug 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-22 20:35:44-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The man often called former Attorney General Mark Shurtleff's "political fixer" died at the Utah Valley Medical Center at the age of 51.

Tim Lawson had suffered a number of health problems in recent years. His brother, Jason, said on Facebook that it was an infection that ultimately ended Lawson's life.

In 2013, Lawson emerged as a key figure in corruption charges against Shurtleff and his successor, John Swallow. Lawson was the self-admitted middle-man between the two top prosecutors and millionaire convict Marc Jenson, who was serving prison time for not paying restitution to investors in failed business deals.

Jenson rented luxury apartments at a California golf resort and spa called Pelican Hill, and Lawson arranged free trips to the resort for Shurtleff and Swallow.

"I never explained one way or another that this was on my dime. That's all I said. This was on my dime," Lawson told FOX 13 News in a 2013 interview, saying Shurtleff and Swallow believed Lawson, and not Jenson, was funding the trips.

Jenson told FOX 13 News at the time that Shurtleff and Swallow knew Lawson was just a transparent pass-through to legitimize the trips.

“John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff both knew that I was not only paying Tim because Mark Shurtleff asked me to, but they knew that's where I lived and there's no reason to think any other way,” Jenson said.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said for now, Lawson’s death only changes the case against Lawson himself.

"We will continue to evaluate our case, but as for now we continue to prosecute our case against Swallow. As for Mr. Lawson, the prosecution comes to an end. Our condolences to the family for their loss," Gill said.