Jodi Rave: Cobell happy with opening day of trial
"Elouise Cobell filed a class-action lawsuit against the Interior Department 12 years ago on Tuesday, a date that also marks the second day of a long-awaited trial expected to award a historic cash settlement to Native landowners.

The Cobell vs. Dirk Kempthorne trial began its first day on Monday in a federal courtroom in Washington, D.C. U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson has said he will, at last, determine a monetary award to landowners. The judge expects to zero in on this primary question: How much?

Monday's trial began with Cobell lawyers who called one of its first witnesses to explain how the government used trust fund money to pay off the U.S. national debt - an issue that has been repeatedly raised throughout the lifetime of the case.

James Miller III, former director of the Office of Management and Budget under the Ronald Reagan administration, was named as witness to discuss the federal government's cash management practices and to explain how the government benefited from trust fund money.

“It went well today,” said Cobell, in a phone interview with the Missoulian. Miller “talked about how the government uses the excess money that is not distributed to pay off the national debt. He explained it very thoroughly.”"

Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: Indian trust trial under way (The Missoulian 6/10)

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