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Attorney may face criminal charges in threat with handgun

The Salt Lake District Attorney's Office is considering criminal charges against a Salt Lake defense attorney accused of using a handgun to threaten a former tenant and an LDS missionary.

Salt Lake police detectives took the case to prosecutors Wednesday for consideration, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Bud Ellett.Police asked prosecutor Ken Updegrove to consider charging attorney Paul Gotay with three counts of aggravated assault or charges involving using a weapon in a threatening manner, Ellett said. Updegrove was in court Thursday morning and unavailable to comment.

Updegrove looked at the case but as of Thursday morning hadn't made a decision on whether to file formal charges, Ellett said. He expected they would make a decision about the case later Thursday.

The allegations stem from a Feb. 3 incident when police were called to 357 S. 200 East on a fight with a gun about 3 p.m.

Gotay called police and said he and a former renter had been in an argument over the removal of an item from his property, according to a police report. He told officers that a former tenant told Gotay he was "going to get a gun," the report said.

And that's when Gotay called police.

But the former tenant told police a different story. He said he was moving some items from the property he rented from Gotay with the help of LDS missionaries when Gotay confronted them.

The former tenant told officers that Gotay "was very upset for no reason and was using profanity towards him. Words were exchanged and Mr. Gotay pulled out a small silver handgun and pointed it at him saying that he was going to kill him," the report said.

Eight missionaries told police they saw Gotay with a silver handgun, and one missionary said Gotay "pointed the gun at him and stated that he was going to kill him," according to the report.

No gun was located by police that night, the report states. No one was arrested in the incident.

"No comment, no charges, no nothing," Gotay said when contacted at his office Thursday. "Nothing happened. . . . If you say I said anything, I will sue you for slander."

The missionaries referred calls to their mission president, David Christensen, who said he would not comment on the case.