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Former candidate for Utah Attorney General charged with bribery

Posted at 11:56 AM, Jul 10, 2024

SALT LAKE CITY — A candidate in the Republican primary election for Utah Attorney General has been charged with bribery, accused of offering a political rival a job for an endorsement.

On Wednesday, the Salt Lake County District Attorney's office charged Frank Demcy Mylar with "bribery in elections," a third-degree felony. According to the charges, Mylar sent a text message to fellow GOP candidate Trent Christensen on April 19 — two weeks before the convention. Prosecutors say Mylar offered Christensen a job in the attorney general's office in a Mylar administration if he endorsed him.

"Hey Trent. In my last day of trial and by Gods grace my campaign has picked up more steam. I won in Weber and was only there 10 minutes. Overwhelmingly won Davis. If you could endorse me before the convention I would definitely include you in my office. Think about it for a few days. Thx. Good luck today. [sic]" the message read, according to an affidavit from Murray police filed with the charges.

Several hours later, Mylar reportedly texted Christensen again and asked him to disregard the previous message, apologizing and saying he thought Christensen had dropped out of the race.

Christensen later reported the messages to law enforcement.

"You can walk up to somebody and say, 'I’d really like your support,' and the conversation stops. There’s a period at that point," Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said Wednesday. "You don’t get to say, 'And by the way, I’ll offer you a job' or 'I’ll offer you some valuable consideration in order for you to do that.'"

But Mylar's attorney, Nathan Crane, told FOX 13 News there was no bribe.

"Frank denies the allegation. Frank did not have any intent to bribe anybody. That is clear from his conduct. He was seeking support for his campaign," Crane said Wednesday. "He sent a text, did not get a response. He was on his way into court and was in the middle of trial. After court he re-reviewed his text and made clear what his intent was and followed up with a text and they had a couple of phone calls. Based on those calls, we thought it was 100% clear there was no intent to offer any bribe."

Crane said his client would enter not guilty pleas and categorically denies the allegations.

Mylar won delegate support at the party convention and advanced to a primary with Rachel Terry, but he came in third place in the primary election with 24% of the vote. Derek Brown, who collected signatures to appear on the primary ballot, won the race (he came in third at convention).

In Utah political circles, one candidates chimed in on the case. On X, United Utah Party candidate Michelle Quist weighed in: "The system is broken. We need to elect leaders who aren’t connected to partisan politics. Especially in our state attorney general’s office! Cut off the national political parties’ access to our attorney general’s office and choose independence, transparency, and non-criminals!"