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When Jeremy Johnson met with investigators from the state and FBI last year, he spilled details of illegal campaign contributions and provided considerable material about his political dealings, with the belief he would be immune from prosecution.

Now he potentially faces hundreds of thousands of dollars in civil fines from the Federal Election Commission, but he could have bigger problems, because the evidence he provided to investigators apparently was turned over to federal prosecutors trying to send Johnson to jail in a separate, sweeping, multimillion-dollar fraud case.

The prosecutor who worked out Johnson's immunity agreement, Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings, is fuming and demanding answers about why the deal was violated.

"Unfortunately for Mr. Johnson, his good-faith cooperation has backfired," Rawlings said in a statement.

The fact that Johnson met with investigators was first revealed in a search warrant — unsealed a year ago — in the criminal investigation of former Utah Attorneys General Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow.

In it, prosecutors said Johnson told them that he had given about $170,000 to friends and associates to make illegal "straw donations" to Shurtleff, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to get around federal campaign limits.

Johnson's cooperation — with state and federal investigators — came with an agreement that the information would not be used against him.

On Friday, the FEC — despite what Rawlings termed Johnson's "good-faith assistance in providing a smorgasbord of candid information and evidence" — sued Johnson in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City over the alleged campaign-finance violations, based on the evidence in the search warrant.

Because the FEC doesn't discuss pending investigations or litigation, a spokeswoman declined to comment on whether the immunity accord would have shielded Johnson, or if attorneys knew the deal was in place.

Larry Noble, a former FEC general counsel, said it's difficult to know whether Johnson should have been protected without knowing what kind of immunity was granted.

"It's really critical here to know what kind of immunity was given," Noble said. "It could just be immunity from criminal prosecution," which wouldn't apply to the FEC since it can impose only civil fines.

Johnson and Rawlings have declined to release a copy of the immunity agreement or provide specifics of the deal.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office of Utah said it had no involvement in any immunity deal with Johnson because it had recused itself from the Shurtleff and Swallow investigations due to unspecified conflicts of interest.

But, Rawlings said, "This is not where the story ends."

"Earlier this year," he added, "the criminal division of the United States attorney's office, who was supposedly conflicted out after having recused themselves around April of 2013, sought and obtained all of the information and material Jeremy Johnson provided, no matter whom he provided it against, including himself."

That raises the prospect that federal prosecutors, who have indicted Johnson and his associates on 86 counts related to various fraud charges in his I Works business, could use evidence Johnson himself provided to help send him to prison.

"We have always abided by our strict ethical code of conduct and will continue to do so," said Melodie Rydalch, spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office of Utah.

For his part, Johnson has said he is shocked that the information he provided has been used against him in the FEC case.

"I am stunned," he said. "I can't imagine anybody who wouldn't be outraged if they were in my shoes."

Defense attorney Clayton Simms — who represents Jeremy Ertmann, a co-defendant of Robert Montgomery, a Swallow donor from whose case the U.S. attorney's office has also recused itself — said there may be conflicts that warrant a recusal in the Johnson case, which could pose problems down the road.

"You sort of have this flaw and this land mine that can blow up. If you do secure a conviction, it could be a Pyrrhic victory," Simms said.

"It could be a victory that has no meaning if the court of appeals says, 'You know there's a conflict, there's some problems here. Maybe it should have been prosecuted by a different U.S. attorney's office that is more independent, and we're going to give you another trial,' " he said. "So I think that's the real risk."