Audio: Cobell discusses trust fund trial on NPR
Elouise Cobell, the lead plaintiff in the Indian trust fund lawsuit, appeared on NPR's Tell Me More program on Monday.

Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Nation of Montana, discussed the history of the case. She said Indian trust beneficiaries won the right to an accounting of their funds in December 1999.

"The government hired a huge accounting firm and they went out and said, you know, this is such a mess. It's unbelievable. There's no way we can give an accounting," Cobell said.

Earlier this year, Judge James Robertson ruled the accounting is impossible. So the plaintiffs are seeking $58 billion in restitution for the government's failure to distribute all of the trust funds and the benefits received for not doing so.

"[W]hen the shoe's on the other foot and the United States government is managing money, they don't have any laws. No laws whatsoever. This money is supposed to be held in trust to the highest fiduciary standards, and nobody has held the Department of Interior or the Department of Treasury accountable for the money," Cobell said.

Robertson started a trial on June 9 to put a final dollar figure on the case. Testimony resumed on Monday.

Get the Story:
After a Decade, Tribe to Receive U.S. Settlement (National Public Radio 6/16)

Trial Transcripts:
June 9 AM | June 9 PM | June 10 AM | June 10 PM | June 11 | June 12 AM | June 12 PM | June 16 AM

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