Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law - University of Tulsa College of Law
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Cobell
Cobell plaintiffs rest case in trust fund trial


After three days of testimony, the plaintiffs in the Indian trust fund lawsuit rested their primary case on Wednesday.

The final witness was Don Pallais, an accountant. He testified about the reliability of the federal government's data on the Individual Indian Money (IIM) trust.

"You cannot depend on the disbursement numbers to represent valid disbursements to individual Indians," Pallais told the court. "The system is not good enough, not dependable enough."

After Pallais was off the stand, the Department of Justice called its first witness. Michelle Herman, a consultant who has been hired by the Interior Department to work on the trust, began testimony about the money that comes in and out of the trust system.

The government is relying on Herman's work from FTI Consulting to revise some key figures in the case. Judge James Robertson has said somewhere between $3 billion to $3.5 billion remains in dispute, according to data presented at a trial last year.

Herman testified that she was hired to "provide a better estimate" of these key figures. She said the prior data included funds that never belonged to individual Indians and that, in some cases, the funds were "double counted."

As Herman began to delve into the new numbers, Robertson went into recess for the day. Testimony resumes this morning at 9:30am. Friday is a day off for the trial.

Trial Transcripts:
June 9 AM | June 9 PM | June 10 AM

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