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Dismissals sought in Navajo fraud case

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WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Prosecutors overseeing a fraud case on the Navajo Nation have asked a tribal judge to dismiss more defendants from a civil complaint.

Dozens of former and current tribal officials were accused of defrauding the tribal government in the use or management of $36 million in discretionary funds.

Prosecutors filed a motion this week to drop Sampson Begay, Ralph Bennett, Nelson Gorman Jr., Ervin Keeswood Sr., Preston McCabe Sr., and Mel R. Begay from the complaint. They say evidence doesn’t support allegations against them.

If the request is approved, 68 of the original 85 defendants will remain in the complaint.

Prosecutors say they expect most of the cases will be settled, dismissed or result in ethics complaints.

Former tribal lawmaker Ernest Yazzie Jr. pleaded not guilty while current lawmaker David Tom will be arraigned this month.

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