Navajo Nation lawmaker faces removal after verdict in fund case

Delegate Mel R. Begay represents the Coyote Canyon, Mexican Springs, Naschitti, Tohatchi, Bahastl'a'a chapters on the Navajo Nation Council. Photo from Navajo Nation Council / Facebook

A Navajo Nation Council lawmaker removal from office after being found guilty of misusing a tribal discretionary fund.

Delegate Mel R. Begay was convicted in tribal court on 10 counts related to the fund, according to news reports. A jury agreed that he used the money to fulfill financial request from his six children.

Begay is due to be sentenced on May 17 but he has vowed to appeal. That process would slow his removal from the council, The Farmington Daily-Times reported.

Begay was among dozens of current and former lawmakers and tribal employees who were first charged back in 2010. Most of those cases were dismissed or resolved through other means.

Some 16 cases were eventually refiled and 14 defendants reached plea agreements, the Associated Press reported. Begay was the first person to go to trial.

The other case against Hoskie Kee, a former delegate, is due to go to trial on April 26, The Daily-Times reported.

Get the Story:
Nation delegate faces removal after conviction (The Farmington Daily-Times 3/27)
Delegate found guilty of misusing funds (The Farmington Daily-Times 3/24)
Jury Convicts Navajo Lawmaker In Discretionary Fund Case (AP 3/24)
Mel Begay Found Guilty (Lake Powell Life 3/24)
Testimony continues in council delegate's trial (The Farmington Daily-Times 3/23)

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