POKER BRIBERY ALLEGATIONS RETURN IN UTAH
Convicted businessman Jeremy Johnson repeats his online poker legalization accusations against Senator Harry Reid.
The Utah television network KUTV has revisited a six-year-old high profile online poker scandal in which bribery allegations against a US senator were made, publishing a jailhouse interview with convicted businessman Jeremy Johnson over the weekend.
InfoPowa readers will recall that back in 2010 Johnson was a leading figure in a case involving cloaked bank processing of online poker transactions which resulted in prosecutions. Johnson is presently incarcerated in Utah pending transfer to a federal prison following his conviction for making false statements to banks.
Johnson implicated former Utah Attorney General John Swallow (who later resigned), alleging that the then prospective AG had agreed to help enlist Nevada Senator Harry Reid’s help over a Federal Trade Commission probe. Johnson claimed that he was told by Swallow that Reids assistance would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Senator Reid, who announced last year that he plans to retire at the end of his current term on January 3, 2017, has repeatedly denied these allegations.
In the latest development, Johnson was interviewed in prison by the television station and said that he used his cellphone to record a meeting with Reid in Las Vegas in the summer of 2010 at which representatives of the online poker industry were present and the issue of legalising online poker was discussed.
“Reid himself wasn’t really shy about it at all in our meeting,” Johnson said. “He said, ‘Look my constituents are against any kind of online poker. They want people to come to Vegas. So I need your support. I need money, and if I get that, I’m going to introduce legalization that’s going to help your business. ”
Johnson claimed that the recordings of this and other meetings and exchanges on various issues that he had preserved were subsequently seized by federal authorities investigating other cases against him and when returned this material was not in a usable format.
Asked whether he knew if online poker interests paid Reid for his help, Johnson commented:
“I believe they did. And I think an investigation would reveal a lot more about that.”
The KUTV report notes that Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings has been reported as saying he’s investigating Reid; but the status of that investigation is unknown, and the Utah prosecutor may need more money, time, and cooperation.
In November last year Rawlings confirmed that he was carrying out an investigation involving Reids association with a former Utah AG accused of corruption, Mark Shurtleff. Whilst he did not divulge any details of the investigation, Rawlings has in the past called for a federal investigation into allegations against Reid by Johnson.
Reid has dismissed Rawlings statements as political opportunism, with Reid spokesperson Kristen Orthman suggesting Rawlings is investigating the senator to try to "advance his political career."
Rawlings recently decided not to proceed with a prosecution against Shurtleff, citing lack of available evidence.
Following the Johnson interview, the television station sent a list of questions to Senator Reids office, requesting answers. At the time the story was published Reid had not responded, the station noted.
See the Johnson interview here: http://kutv.com/news/local/johnson-said-he-recorded-sen-reid-asking-for-money-in-exchange-for-legalization