Politics

Utah AG Proclaims His Innocence As He Resigns

November 22, 2013

The state’s top attorney made his closing arguments Thursday, passionately defending his innocence even as he announced his departure from the office he took nearly 11 months ago.

Attorney General John Swallow was defiant as he stood before reporters, taking swipes at what he called politically motivated attacks that had exacted an unsustainable personal and financial toll on himself and his family.

"The strain on my office has been far beyond what I ever anticipated and the cost to state taxpayers has been enormous," Swallow said. "Now is the time for the madness to stop and the state to move forward."

Swallow said he and his wife, Suzanne, decided he would step down this past weekend, believing they could no longer weather the multiple investigations, including a $1.5 million probe launched by the Republican-dominated House, into his conduct.

"Pure and simple, I believe the House investigation was calculated to drive me from office," Swallow said Thursday afternoon, his wife seated nearby.

His resignation, effective Dec. 3 at 12:01 a.m., comes in the wake of a river of allegations and denials, investigations and revelations — some of which began to spill out within days of his inauguration in January.

Claims of facilitating bribes, promises of preferential treatment, extortion and receiving improper gifts piled up against Swallow and his GOP predecessor, Mark Shurtleff. Swallow called for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate and, in September, the feds said they would not file charges.

Other investigations, notably the House inquiry and a criminal probe by a pair of county prosecutors working with the FBI, continued and, Swallow said, wore down his financial ability to defend himself.

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