Ex-Navajo lawmaker says he conspired with colleagues in case alleging misuse of tribal funds



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WINDOW ROCK, Arizona — A former Navajo Nation Council delegate has pleaded guilty to what prosecutors say was a scheme to divert tribal funds to his family.

Harry Willeto entered the plea to a charge of conspiracy to commit bribery earlier this month. Prosecutors dropped six bribery charges against him as part of a plea agreement.

Willeto says he gave $11,450 to three of his colleagues with the understanding his family would get equal amounts. He says he knew the arrangement was wrong.

Prosecutors say Willeto can avoid jail time by testifying against others accused of misappropriating discretionary funds.

Window Rock District Court Judge Carol Perry heard arguments Friday on a prosecution request to consolidate trials for other current and former Navajo lawmakers facing bribery and conspiracy charges. She didn't immediately rule.

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