Tooele, Utah — (KUTV) Federal prosecutors will not file criminal charges against the wife of Mike Weinholtz, Democratic Candidate for Governor of Utah. Instead, a state prosecutor will take the case.
"We recieved a call from the U.S. Attorney's Office, asking us if we would take the case on a conflict," said Gary Searle, Chief Deputy Tooele County Attorney. "The district attorney in Salt Lake evidently is friends with the Weinholtz's or has a social relationship with Mr. and Mrs. Weinholtz."
Mike Weinholtz, currently running for Governor against incumbent, Gary Herbert, made a surprising announcement during the state's Democratic Convention last April. He declared that his wife, Donna Weinholtz, was being investigated for using medical marijuana. A statement from his campaign said she "uses marijuana to seek relief from chronic neck, back and knee pain brought on by arthritis."
"I thought it was necessary to be open and honest with the delegates," he said at the time. "I thought it would be dishonest if I didn't disclose it."
On Wednesday a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office read:
After reviewing the case carefully and consulting with the Tooele County Attorney, we determined that the best venue for the case would be on the county level rather than pursuing a federal case.
Searle is now investigating and says charges will be filed on a state level. "The amount she had, without any intent to distribute, would be a misdemeanor possession," he said.
According to Searle, a Federal investigation found that Donna Weinholtz tried to mail marijuana to herself at an out-of-state address. It was apparently uncovered by a drug-sniffing dog. He also says Donna Weinholtz turned-over close to two pounds of marijuana she had at their Salt Lake City home.
"I don't anticipate she'll have any problems with the law in the future, she hasn't in the past. I intend to treat her just like any other citizen," said Searle.
Weinholtz responded to an interview request through a statement Wednesday afternoon, reiterating his wife's use for medical reasons as an alternative to opioid medication. The statement also cited their ongoing cooperation during the investigation and said "we look forward to having the issue resolved and moving on."