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A judge should order the Salt Lake County district attorney to pursue a trove of evidence from an FBI investigation of John Swallow to ensure that the former Utah attorney general has every chance to defend himself against criminal public corruption charges.

That's the argument Swallow's attorney, Scott C. Williams, made Tuesday in Salt Lake City's 3rd District Court before Judge Elizabeth Hruby-Mills.

The evidence — an unknown number of terabytes of data gathered by FBI agents in a multiyear investigation of Swallow and his predecessor Mark Shurtleff — is being sought by Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings, who is prosecuting Shurtleff.

Rawlings has been battling the FBI and the Department of Justice in the courts for the evidence since last fall, before the same judge.

"Why can't we be legally hooked to that train?" Williams asked the court Tuesday. "It would require no effort by the Salt Lake County D.A.'s office. All they have to do is duplicate the request and the seeking activity with Mr. Swallow's name on it."

Williams said he and Rawlings share the same belief that the evidence is critically important to the Shurtleff and Swallow cases, and that obtaining it is required under state and federal laws, along with the rules of evidence.

Assistant Salt Lake County District Attorney Fred Burmester disagreed, saying the two cases differ and that Williams is asking for an effort his office believes is unnecessary.

"Counsel has made a lot about what Mr. Rawlings has declared," Burmester said. "But [Rawlings] is not the arbiter of what's required."

Salt Lake County has provided Williams with all the evidence it has, Burmester said. Additional material is also on its way and only recently became available with the conclusion of the federal criminal trial of St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson, he said.

Johnson, who was convicted of eight felony counts of providing false information to a bank, was a contributor to the political campaigns of Shurtleff and Swallow. He also was one of several people to raise allegations of a pay-to-play climate in the Utah attorney general's office. He is expected to be a key witness in the Shurtleff and Swallow prosecutions.

Williams said the Johnson evidence includes information relevant to Swallow. He has seen copies, he said, of an evidence log that includes files labeled with Shurtleff's and Swallow's names and one labeled "exculpatory."

Without an order from the court, Williams said, he is left relying on promises that prosecutors might not keep.

"What if [federal agencies] ultimately do respond to Troy Rawlings, but they respond only with the Shurtleff binder because he's the only one asking?" Williams asked.

Hruby-Mills took the matter under advisement. It was unclear Tuesday how long it might be before she issues a ruling.

Shurtleff and Swallow have pleaded not guilty to felony and misdemeanor charges. Each faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Twitter: @jenniferdobner