Pleas Entered In Navajo Fund Bribery Case

March 12, 2014

The Navajo Nation Council speaker and his predecessor have pleaded not guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges.

Speaker Johnny Naize and former speaker Lawrence Morgan entered their pleas in Window Rock District Court.

Prosecutors have accused the two, and other tribal officials, of being part of a scheme to divert money to their families. The tribe’s discretionary fund was set up to aid Navajos facing extreme hardships and prohibited nepotism.

Sixteen people have been criminally charged in the case. Another dozen face ethics violations. Some of them have pleaded guilty and agreed to aid prosecutors with their cases against other defendants.