Jodi Rave: Cobell trial begins in Washington DC
"A federal judge on Monday will gavel to a start the trial that will potentially award billions of dollars to Native landowners whose income from natural resources has been mismanaged and misused by the U.S. government for more than a century.

“We're going in for the final leg leading to justice,” said Elouise Cobell, a landowner and lead plaintiff from Browning. “I'm very confident we will be victorious.”

U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson in Washington, D.C., will preside over Cobell vs. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, in a case pitting a half-million Native landowners against the Interior Department. Indigenous people claim they are owed at least $58 billion in trust funds that never made it into their money accounts managed by the department since 1887.

Justice Department lawyers have argued the shortfall rests somewhere between $3 billion and $3.6 billion.

Robertson will move the case forward as he acknowledges that Interior and Justice department representatives oppose “any remedy in this case that has a dollar sign in front of it.” He has also noted that Cobell's lawyers have added “considerably more zeros after the dollar sign than the government thinks is possible, or frankly than I think is possible.”"

Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: Court to hear Cobell lawsuit (The Missoulian 6/9)

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