Navajo lawmaker faces removal over misuse of funds

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) – Navajo Nation officials are looking into the process for removing a tribal lawmaker who has been found guilty of misusing funds.

The Farmington Daily Times reports that Mel Begay will remain on the Navajo Nation Council until the process is addressed by the Navajo Election Administration.

Begay was convicted Wednesday of 10 criminal counts related to giving more than $30,000 in tribal funds to his family.

Begay’s trial was the first of two in a years-long investigation of a discretionary fund meant for Navajos facing extreme hardship. More than two dozen other current and former lawmakers have resolved their criminal or ethics cases, many through plea agreements.

Begay’s attorney, Jeffrey Rasmussen, says Begay wasn’t given a fair trial and will appeal the conviction.

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