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Cobell
Interior says Cobell suit not worth billions


Bush administration officials at the Interior Department don't think the Cobell trust fund lawsuit is worth billions of dollars.

Associate deputy secretary Jim Cason and Special Trustee Ross Swimmer said very few errors have been uncovered in the the Indian trust accounts so far. Any settlement would run in the millions, according to the officials.

Despite those sentiments, the Bush administration has offered $3.5 billion to end the case. Officials said the payment would cover the historical accounting of the trust, plus any damages from breach of trust claims.

Elouise Cobell, the lead plaintiff in the case, says an accounting is impossible. "There's too many missing records," she told The Oklahoman. "Documents are missing, systems are broken."

Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Nation of Montana, has been in Washington, D.C., for a trial in the accounting. Cason testified in defense of the Bush administration's plan to reconcile transactions in the trust.

Get the Story:
Official says huge payoff isn't justified (The Oklahoman 10/14)
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American Indian trust suit could total billions (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 10/14)

Trial Transcripts:
Day 1 AM | Day 1 PM | Day 2 AM | Day 2 PM

Court Decisions:
Cobell v. Norton [District Court] | Cobell v. Norton [Appeals Court] | Babbitt v. Youpee [Supreme Court]

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Kempthorne - http://www.indiantrust.com
Cobell v. Norton, Department of Justice - http://www.usdoj.gov/civil/cases/cobell/index.htm

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