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Lawsuit: Mark Shurtleff says D.A. Sim Gill threatened to 'get him back'

SALT LAKE CITY — Former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff now accuses Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill of pursuing a criminal investigation against him in retaliation for supporting Gill's 2010 election opponent.

An amended lawsuit filed Friday in federal court spells out in detail Shurtleff's contention that the now-dismissed public corruption case him was politically motivated.

A Republican who served three terms as the state's top cop, Shurtleff sued Gill, the FBI and state investigators for $60 million last month, claiming they falsely charged and maliciously prosecuted him.

The lawsuit, which ballooned from 21 pages to 73, now seeks at least $80 million and describes alleged investigative misconduct for each of the 10 felony counts prosecutors filed against him in July 2014.

Shurtleff claims Gill, a Democrat, threatened to "get him back" for backing Republican Lohra Miller and calling her a better prosecutor in the 2010 district attorney's race that Gill narrowly won. He also says Gill used the criminal case against him and his successor, John Swallow, to advance his 2014 re-election campaign.

Gill said Friday Shurtleff is free to "believe what he wants to believe and claim what he wants to claim" and that he will address the issues in court.

"All I've ever done is done my job," Gill said.

Throughout late 2013 and early 2014, federal and state investigators executed fraudulent and perjured search warrants to illegally seize Shurtleff's personal property, texts, phone records and emails, his lawsuit claims.

Agents wearing body armor and wielding assault rifles and other automatic and semi-automatic weapons used excessive force when they raided his Sandy home on June 3, 2014, knowing Shurtleff was not there, the lawsuit says.

Shurtleff claims officers physically, verbally and emotionally abused his children, Thomas and Adrianna, both of whom, along with his wife, M'Liss, are plaintiffs in the lawsuit. He called them "Dirty Harry tactics" at the time.

Prosecutors originally charged Shurtleff and Swallow with bribery, accepting gifts and obstruction of justice, among other felonies, as co-defendants. The charges came after investigations from the U.S. Department of Justice, Utah House and state election office of the two former attorneys general. Federal officials declined to prosecute either one.

When the state case was split, Gill prosecuted Swallow and Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings, a Republican, prosecuted Shurtleff.

Shurtleff alleges in the lawsuit that Gill used Rawlings as "political cover" to claim the investigation wasn't political.

Gill said Rawlings made the decisions in the Shurtleff case and "I supported his independence to do it."

Rawlings eventually dropped the criminal charges against Shurtleff in July 2016, citing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that changed the bribery standards of public officials, an inability to obtain key evidence from the federal investigation and concerns about whether Shurtleff could get a fair trial in the high-profile case.

Swallow's case went to trial last year and a jury acquitted him on all counts.

Shurtleff said he lost a $1 million-per-year job at a prestigious law firm in Washington, D.C., because of the charges as well as other work. He said he was turned down for a potential high-paying lobbying job after the company searched his name online.

His lawsuit seeks $20 million for lost wages and medical expenses and $60 million for compensatory damages, including lost income, emotional distress, humiliation and loss of enjoyment of life.

Utah Department of Public Safety investigator Scott Nesbitt, FBI agents Michelle Pickens and Jon Isakson and the Salt Lake City Public Corruption Task Force are also named as defendants.