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John Swallow will not get a second chance at a preliminary hearing after he "knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently" waived his right to one in 2015, a judge ruled Friday.
In her decision, 3rd District Judge Elizabeth Hruby-Mills said the former Utah attorney general told the court in June 2015 that he had "thoroughly discussed" his options with his then-attorney and waived his original hearing. Because his waiver was "knowing and voluntary," Hruby-Mills ruled that there is no basis to render it invalid.
"The court also informed [Swallow] that by waiving his right to a preliminary hearing, [he] would be giving up his opportunity to examine evidence, cross-examine witnesses and even testify himself," the decision states.
Additionally, a transcript from the June 2015 proceeding shows that Swallow's lawyer called the waiver "the best way to proceed."
Swallow filed a motion in April, asking the court to give him another shot because he waived his original hearing when he had a different lawyer. His current defense attorney, Scott C. Williams, has said that Swallow didn't understand the impact of his decision.
Williams said he was disappointed by the judge's ruling.
"I'm not sure why everybody is afraid to tell us what the evidence is," he said. "We will continue to try to get fundamental fairness and due process."
Democratic Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, whose office is prosecuting the Republican former attorney general, applauded the ruling. Swallow, said Gill, has experience as a lawyer and was aware of what his actions would entail before he consented to the waiver.
"We're very happy with the outcome and will continue to press forward with our prosecution," Gill said.
Swallow is charged with multiple felony and misdemeanor counts that stem from allegations of bribery, racketeering and misuse of funds while he was in the attorney general's office. He entered not-guilty pleas to the 14 criminal counts at the same time that he waived his preliminary hearing.
If convicted as charged, Swallow would face a punishment of up to 30 years in prison. A trial is set for February.
In the ruling Friday, Hruby-Mills also denied Swallow's request for a "bill of particulars," which would detail the charges against him, noting that information already provided is "sufficient notice."
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Salt Lake Tribune reporter Jennifer Dobner contributed to this story.