Contempt trial resumes today in federal court
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After a holiday break, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth today will resume testimony in a contempt trial against Secretary of Interior Gale Norton and Assistant Secretary Neal McCaleb.

The two face five charges for their handling of the Individual Indian Money (IIM) trust. The trial began December 10 and was moving slowly due to objections raised by Norton's attorneys.

But with Norton's decision to drop the challenges, the proceedings are expected to move quickly. Attorneys representing 300,000 beneficiaries to the IIM trust say they hope to complete their examination of witness Tommy Thompson by noon.

Thompson, the second highest-ranking trust official within the Department of Interior, has been the only person to take the stand. Government attorneys plan to cross-examine him for the rest of the afternoon today, if all goes as expected.

After Thompson, the plaintiffs expect to call several more witnesses, including members of the Clinton administration and Department of Justice attorneys. Former Secretary Bruce Babbitt, his chief of staff Anne Shields and former Assistant Secretary Kevin Gover are on the short list.

Despite the removal of the objections, the plaintiffs don't believe the trial will wrap up until mid-February due to the court's schedule. Lamberth said he is going out of the country from January 16-30.

Additionally, the government plans on calling several officials to testify on its behalf.

Today on Indianz.Com:
Little hope for trust fund payments (1/4)
Tribes fending off Norton proposal (1/4)

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

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