SALT LAKE CITY -- It has been well-documented that former Attorney General John Swallow's wave of political problems began at a meeting in the Krispy Kreme doughnut shop located in Orem. What hadn't been known before was that the meeting set off a series of events that Utah's Special House Committee investigator believes included Swallow destroying evidence and also attempting to fabricate new evidence to protect him in potential probes of his actions.
On Thursday, the House Committee's hired investigators and counsel released the first portion of their findings on Swallow and his dealings. The investigator made strong accusations that Swallow sought to destroy evidence involving him and also made attempts to fabricate new evidence to lead investigators away from him while they looked into his dealings with indicted business man Jeremy Johnson.
Steven Reich, co-head of the Swallow investigation, pointed to a number of invoices and day-planner entries in particular that dealt with a transaction between Swallow and now deceased businessman Richard Rawle.
Rawle had dealings with Johnson, and Swallow was the link between the two men. Reich explained that Swallow attempted to recreate documents and day-planner entries after his meeting with Johnson at the popular doughnut shop to show Swallow did consulting work for Rawle on a cement business job and not provide political advice for him.
Reich played 18 minutes worth of a recording made by Johnson during the Krispy Kreme meeting between he and Swallow where Johnson explains to Swallow that Swallow may be in danger of federal investigations because of his dealings with Rawle and himself.
In the recording, Swallow claims he did not do anything illegal but did say politically he realized he may be in trouble. Swallow went as far as to say he thought he could be the target of a federal investigation.
Reich then took the next four hours of the day to tell the story of how Swallow's actions following the Krispy Kreme encounter display that he was attempting to cover his tracks, or at least change his tracks, in his dealings with Rawle and Johnson.
In the instance of the invoices, Reich said the lack of dates on the invoices caused his team of investigators to wonder if they ever actually existed. The invoices were claiming to be consulting fees from Swallow to Rawle. It is alleged the money actually went to pay Swallow for bringing Rawle and Johnson together.
Reich walked the committee through a series of events to show that the invoices never existed and that they were a creation by Swallow.
The revelation was made as investigators compared Swallow's day-planner entries to his time sheet with the Attorney General's office when he worked there as the deputy attorney general. While entries in his day-planner showed he did work for Rawle, his time card on those same days indicate he was busy conducting work at the state capitol.
Reich explained that if Swallow had done work for both on the days his day-planner indicated, his work days on those days would have totaled out at 15 hours one day, 20 total hours of work another and 24 total work hours on the last day.
Reich said those totals raised his team's eyebrows and they continued to question if the invoices or the day-planner entries were legit or fabricated.
Reich said Swallow's personal attorney did inform him, after being pushed by the House Committee, that the day-planner entries were created in 2012, close to two years after the days the entries were supposed to represent. The committee also learned through testimony, given by Swallow to the Lt. Governor's office in their investigation of him, that he created the invoices in May 2012, not in 2011 or 2010 when the work was supposedly conducted and paid for.
"It just solidifies in our mind how utterly inaccurate those time entries are, unless you want to believe Mr. Swallow spent 15, 20 and 24 hours a day doing his attorney general and non-attorney general work," Reich said.
Reich also informed the committee that he believes Swallow intentionally deleted emails contained on the state server from 2010 following the doughnut shop meeting.
Reich has made the accusation in the past, but Swallow explained the missing data was lost when the state switched email hosts. Reich said that claim was untrue as he revealed a sworn testimony from a computer specialist within the attorney general's office that said emails were not lost during the email host data migration.
The specialist also testified that only he, Swallow's assistant and Swallow had the then-deputy attorney general's email password and said only those three would be able to alter Swallow's email account. Reich said both the specialist and the assistant have said under oath they did not delete any of Swallow's emails, leaving only one other person, Swallow, responsible for the missing data.
Reich explained once the computer specialist's testimony was made known, Swallow changed his story to say he asked his work computers to be wiped in the summer of 2012; the email host change took place in 2011. Swallow then had the emails placed on an external hard drive but the data was later lost.
Data loss has been an issue for Swallow as the committee explained Swallow has had issues with keeping data on state computers, personal computers and external hard drives, and he also lost an iPad in February of this year. Rep. Francis Gibson, R-Mapleton, wondered aloud if Swallow had somehow been attacked by a technology eating dragon.
"No one can be that unlucky. You have to think that he has gone out of his way to hide stuff," said Gibson.
Rep. Mike Mckell, R-Spanish Fork, said the findings released were offensive to him, to the voters of Utah and to the Legislature. He was appalled by Swallow's criticism of the House investigation and said the details released today would be enough for him to want to move forward with impeachment of Swallow if he was still in office.
"I think it is clear that John Swallow has not been truthful to the people of Utah, period," said McKell.
This was only the first day of the House committee releasing their findings on Swallow. The committee will convene once again Friday morning to reveal the remainder of the significant details gathered by their investigations.
Committee members have said Friday's meeting will contain information on the political dealings of Swallow and pay for play scenarios that have taken place within the Attorney General's office.
"Wait until tomorrow, there will be more," said Gibson.