Reposted from: http://www.indiantrust.com
WASHINGTON, JUNE 19 — U.S. District Judge James Robertson said today he hopes to issue a ruling by mid-July on how much money Indian Trust beneficiaries failed to received as a result of the government’s mismanagement of their money.
The judge made his announcement shortly before noon after the government concluded its evidence at a eight-day trial on the issue.
The trial will resume Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. when lawyers for the Indian plaintiffs present a final rebuttal witness in the proceeding.
Lawyers for both the Indians and the government then will present closing arguments.
Judge Robertson said both sides will be asked to submit written briefs outlining recommendations for his ruling.
The judge has stated previously that he hopes this proceeding will be the final trial in the 12-year-old class action lawsuit. It was filed in 1996 by Elouise Cobell, a Blackfeet Indian from Montana, over trust accounts that the federal government established for an estimated 500,000 Native Americans.
Lawyers for the Indians have said that the government owes the Indians $58 billion as a result of its use of Indian money since the trust was established in 1887. The government is contesting those figures, arguing that the Indians lost no more than $158 million over the 121 years that the trust has been in operation.
contact: Bill McAllister 703 385-6996