(KCPW News) New revelations about former Utah Attorney General John Swallow were made public on Thursday by the House committee investigating allegations against him.
Special counsel Steve Reich kicked off day one of a two-day presentation to the House Special Investigative Committee by accusing Swallow of both fabricating and destroying evidence. Reich believes this was done in an effort to deliberately mislead investigators and obscure misdeeds.
According to Reich, investigators grew suspicious of work invoices and day planners provided to the committee by Swallow when they started to notice discrepancies.
“He claimed twelve hours of work at the Attorney General’s Office, and he claimed twelve hours of work on the cement project, for a total day of 24 hours,” Reich says.
“These facts—what I just showed you—and the fact that we had not been allowed to keep copies of the invoices and the day planners, caused us to want to do more,” Reich says. “And we decided it was time to go back to Mr. Swallow’s team and ask them to explain what was going on.”
It took until November 15th, 2013, for Swallow to admit that those invoices and day planners were not created contemporaneously. When asked when those documents were created, Swallow placed the date at May 2012. Rep. John Fellows asked Reich if he believed it was possible to recollect daily hours from two years ago.
“I think the fact that when we lay the day planners next to the time records for the Attorney General’s Office, it just solidifies in our mind how utterly inaccurate those time entries actually are, unless you’re prepared to believe that Mr. Swallow spent 15, 20, or 24 hours a day doing both his AG and his non-AG work,” Reich says.
Reich says the fact that those documents were created in May of 2012 is significant. On April 30, 2012, Swallow met with a St. George businessman in an Orem Krispy Kreme donut shop. The businessman, Jeremy Johnson, secretly recorded that conversation, wherein Swallow expresses concern that he could be the subject of a federal investigation.
After that meeting, Reich says, Swallow began to take actions in an effort to cover his tracks. In addition to the fabricated documents, Swallow bought a prepaid cell phone, per Johnson’s suggestion, to avoid being tracked by potential investigators. In July 2012, Swallow ordered IT personnel to erase data from his office desktop and laptop computers, and had the hard drive on his home computer replaced. Reich says investigators unknowingly recovered data from the new hard drive in his home computer, believing it was the older hard drive.
“We didn’t know that that hard drive had only been in the computer since July 30th of 2012. We assumed that that hard drive had been in his computer going back a period of years,” says Reich.
Reich goes on to say, “This committee invested significant resources in recovering a hard drive from his home computer, without us knowing or being told that the effort we had undertaken covered a hard drive that had only been in the computer for about six months.”
Reich also noted an unusual trend of lost or broken technology, such as faulty cell phones and a misplaced hard drive and iPad. He concluded that these discrepancies simply couldn’t be explained as accidents.
“Human experience tells us how difficult it is to believe that one person could innocently suffer all of these adverse technological events,” Reich says.
“And indeed, we don’t believe that this slew of data losses can be innocently explained consistent with common sense,” he continues. “Not when taken together. Not when considered alongside of what we’ve seen about the evidence creation. And not when considered in the context of Mr. Swallow’s admittedly being, quote-unquote, ‘scared to death,’ after the Krispy Kreme meeting.”
The committee investigating Swallow will resume hearings on Friday, when they will conclude their investigation.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (4.0MB)