Lamberth finds evidence of more record destruction

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth on Wednesday ordered the Bush administration to start filing, under penalty of perjury, reports on the state of trust records at the Interior Department.

Lamberth said new allegations of document destruction were enough to warrant additional court scrutiny. He referred to letters written by Interior employees that Individual Indian Money records are in jeopardy or have been damaged. Yet he said the department failed to report these incidents and may have done so deliberately.

"The actions of Interior and Secretary [Gale] Norton in this instance again demonstrate why the court continues to believe that Interior sets the gold standard for mismanagement of a government agency," Lamberth wrote.

Government lawyers had tried to strike the allegations from the record as unfounded and prejudicial. In one letter, a senior Office of Special Trustee employee was referred to as a "white man" who reportedly reminded others of his religious beliefs.

Get the Story:
Interior Is Ruled At Fault Again On Indian Files (The Washington Post 9/10)

Court Order:
Records Reporting (September 9, 2004)

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton -
Cobell v. Norton, Department of Justice -
Indian Trust, Department of Interior -

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