Norton agrees to appear for trial
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In a reversal of position, attorneys for Secretary of Interior Gale Norton on Monday agreed she should testify in her own contempt trial, albeit with some limitations.

Government attorneys have voiced vehement objections to having Norton on the stand. But under conditions imposed by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, her testimony will take place tomorrow as previously anticipated.

Attorneys representing 300,000 beneficiaries to the Individual Indian Money (IIM) trust were pleased with the turnout. "To us, it's about the trustee explaining to her beneficiaries how can she allow the system to go on the way it is," said Keith Harper of the Native American Rights Fund.

Describing Norton as a "hostile" witness, Harper said her appearance in court won't be a repeat of last week's hearing before the House Resources Committee. "She can't squirm like she did on the Hill," he said.

Lamberth is giving the plaintiffs three hours to ask Norton questions. The government can take as much time as it desire but her attorneys want her off the stand by late afternoon, citing her schedule.

Lamberth, however, hinted she may need to come back if her testimony is not complete. He also suggested he may call his own witnesses next week.

Norton will take the stand at 10 a.m. tomorrow. Lamberth then goes on a short break and will return to the bench February 20.

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

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