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Client Acquitted of All Charges in Olympic Bribery Case

December 5, 2003

Zuckerman Spaeder client, Thomas K. Welch, who headed the efforts to bring the Olympics to Salt Lake City, was acquitted of 15 bribery-related charges in Utah federal court on December 5, 2003. After more than four years of battles with federal prosecutors, Judge David Sam of U.S. District Court for the District of Utah acquitted Welch and his co-defendant, saying that the case "offends my sense of justice."

The case was dismissed the morning after lawyers for the defense made a "Rule 29" motion to acquit on Thursday after the prosecution finished its case. "Based on the insufficiency of the evidence presented, the court, without reservation, finds that justice requires granting defendants' motion for judgment of acquittal," Judge Sam said to the court on December 5.

The team—made up of William W. Taylor, Blair G. Brown, Elizabeth G. Taylor, and Amit P. Mehta—was hired by Welch in November 1999 before his indictment. The team met with success early on when the District Court dismissed the 15-count indictment.

"When the weight of the federal government comes down upon you in the form of a federal indictment, it is both daunting and intimidating. Without the efforts of Bill Taylor and the team from Zuckerman Spaeder, that weight would have crushed me," Welch said. "The attorneys of Zuckerman Spaeder left no rock unturned, no skirmish unfought on our way to what was a total victory."

Throughout the 10-year effort to bring the Winter Olympics to Salt Lake City, Utah, Welch served as President of the Salt Lake Bid Committee (SLBC). After the SLBC was awarded the games, he served as president of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee (SLOC) until July 1997.

"How I regret that you were deprived because of the pending charges under a 15-count felony indictment, of fully enjoying the fruits of your tireless efforts to bring the Olympics to our great state and to join in the celebration of the games and all that went on during that time," Judge Sam said to Welch and Johnson, the vice president of the SLBC and SLOC.

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