Navajo Council Speaker Survives Removal Attempt

January 29, 2014

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The speaker of the Navajo Nation Council, who is facing bribery and conspiracy charges, has survived an attempt to remove him from the post.

Tribal lawmakers were split almost evenly Tuesday on a bill to oust Johnny Naize as the legislative leader. The bill fell short of the 16 votes needed for approval.

Naize has denied wrongdoing in what prosecutors say was a scheme to divert public money to the families of tribal officials. Naize urged lawmakers on Tuesday to adhere to the Navajo principle of kinship in respecting one another and remaining unified.

The bill's sponsor, Alton Joe Shepherd, said the intent of his legislation was to preserve the integrity of the speaker's post and the image of the council. Naize's term ends in January 2015.