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Utah wants criminal case against San Juan Co. Sheriff, deputies moved to SLC

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Attorney General’s Office is asking a judge to move the criminal case against San Juan County Sheriff Rick Eldredge and two of his deputies out of Monticello.

Monticello is the county seat for San Juan County, and Sheriff Eldredge is still on the job.

In a court filing, lawyers for the state asked to have the case against Sheriff Eldredge, Chief Deputy Alan Freestone and Deputy Rob Wilcox to Third District Court in Salt Lake City.

“Defendants have extensive personal and business ties to San Juan County and Grand County, and the defendants hold ecclesiastical positions in San Juan County’s dominant religion,” assistant Utah Attorney General Craig Peterson wrote in the motion.

“The victim and the defendants continue to reside in the greater San Juan community. The defendants were not placed on leave nor suspended upon this case being filed, and are actively employed in their respective positions with the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office.”

Sheriff Eldredge is facing witness retaliation and other charges, accusing him of pointing an unloaded gun at a department employee in Wilcox’s presence. When that person complained, instead of ordering an outside investigation, the sheriff tasked Freestone with the probe.

Freestone is accused in court filings of attempting to protect Eldredge by failing to conduct a proper investigation. Wilcox and Eldredge are accused of providing false information to the Utah Attorney General’s Office as part of its investigation.

An attorney for Sheriff Eldredge previously told FOX 13 his client will be vindicated. Court records show all three men will appear in Monticello’s 7th District Court on July 25 where a judge will then hear the state’s motion to move the case.