Former Attorney General Swallow pleads ‘not guilty’ on corruption charges

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SALT LAKE CITY - Former Utah Attorney General John Swallow pleaded not guilty to the more than a dozen corruption charges against him Monday.

The 52-year-old appeared in a Third District courtroom Monday morning for an arraignment hearing.

Before walking in, he uttered these three words to the cameras, “I feel great.”

Once inside the courtroom, Swallow did not speak during the brief hearing at Matheson Courthouse. His attorney, Steve McCaughey, acted on his behalf, and entered a “not guilty plea” for all 14 counts.

Salt Lake County prosecutors have filed 13 felonies and one misdemeanor against Swallow from accepting bribes, misuse of public money, obstruction of justice and money laundering.

Swallow stepped down from the attorney general post in December of 2013 and was arrested last summer.

Prosecutors claim Swallow and his predecessor, Mark Shurtleff, accepted lavish gifts and money from businessmen under investigation or facing charges by the Attorney General’s office.

Both men have maintained their innocence.

Shurtleff has pleaded not guilty to seven counts against him.

Today, outside the courtroom, Swallow’s attorney, Steve McCaughey, said he is watching Shurtleff’s case closely as they prepare for trial.

“We’ve got to see how he’s filing. I have no idea. As soon as he files something, we’ll look at it. We’ll look at our own motions also,” McCaughey said.

In June, Swallow turned away an opportunity to see how prosecutors intended to lay out their case against him.

He waived his right to a preliminary hearing, setting up today’s arraignment where he formally pleaded not guilty.

John Swallow’s trial begins April 5 and is scheduled to last for four weeks. If convicted, he could face up to 30 years in prison.

Swallow will be back in court for a pre-trial conference March 28.