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Homes of former Utah attorneys general searched in criminal probe

By Jennifer Dobner

SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - Federal and state investigators have searched the homes of two former Utah attorneys general as part of a probe into alleged criminal wrongdoing in the state's top law enforcement office, authorities said on Tuesday.

Republicans John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff are the subject of a year-old investigation by prosecutors in Salt Lake and Davis counties over allegations of bribery, obstruction of justice and misuse of public funds, court records show.

The two men have denied any wrongdoing and no criminal charges have been filed.

FBI agents searched both men’s homes in the Salt Lake City suburb of Sandy on Monday, and a third warrant was executed at another undisclosed location, according to a statement from the FBI and Utah law enforcement agencies.

The FBI statement gave no details about the nature of the search but court records show more than a dozen warrants have been filed in the men's cases, and that thousands of pages of documents and electronic records have been collected.

Swallow, a former state lawmaker, was elected attorney general in 2012 and resigned in November amid investigations involving bribery, as well as deleted or lost electronic records, and fabricated or destroyed records that tied him to questionable campaign donors.

The findings were handed over to prosecutors in Salt Lake and Davis counties to complement their criminal investigation.

Shurtleff, who served as Utah’s attorney general for 12 years and picked Swallow as his successor, is accused of similar activities, including meddling in a fraud case his office brought against a southern Utah ski and golf resort developer who raised money for Shurtleff.

Both men also were the subject of a 2013 investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section. That office declined to bring charges but FBI agents who worked on the case now are working with prosecutors.

Swallow’s attorney, Rodney Snow, did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Shurtleff, who is in Washington, D.C., denounced the search of his home on a Utah radio program on Tuesday, saying officers pointed weapons at his children.

"When I’m cleared of these charges, and I will be cleared, there will be accountability and there will be liability in this case," Shurtleff told KSL radio.

(Editing by Daniel Wallis and Bill Trott)

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