Prosecutors on Navajo seek to combine trials

The Associated Press

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Prosecutors investigating the use of discretionary funds on the Navajo Nation are seeking to try a handful of defendants together.

In a request Wednesday to tribal Judge Carol Perry, prosecutors said consolidating the trials would save tens of thousands of dollars in court expenses, jury fees and prosecution.

Perry has not ruled on the request.

Jury trials aren’t common in Navajo courts. According to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report on tribal courts, eight were held on the Navajo Nation between 2007 and 2011 among 51,000 civil and criminal cases. At the time, none of the tribe’s 10 district courts had set aside funds for jurors in their budgets.

Prosecutors are seeking to combine trials for two current and three former tribal lawmakers who are facing bribery charges.