Tuesday, June 4, 2002

Cobell v Norton Update

On Tuesday June 4, 2002, plaintiffs filed a motion with the Court to have Treasury Secretary O'Neill and Interior Secretary Norton and responsible employees and counsel held in contempt of court for perpetrating another fraud upon the Court.


In September 2000, defendants and counsel filed a motion for summary judgment based upon facts and law that were known to be false at the time that motion was filed. They represented, at the time, that the General Accounting Office had conducted regular audits of individual Indian trust accounts prior to 1951, as such they argued they had discharged their duty to accounting and should not have to provide IIM trust beneficiaries an accounting of their trust assets for that time period.

However, defendants, senior managers and attorneys suppressed and concealed from this Court and plaintiffs an August 1999 letter from the GAO to the Secretary's senior managers (and counsel) that stated, in fact, no audit had ever been conducted of the individual Indian trust accounts, collectively or individually. This August 1999 GAO Letter was inadvertently disclosed in December 2001 during Secretary Norton's contempt trial.

This contempt motion is an amendment to a motion plaintiffs filed February 15, 2002.


Plaintiffs amend that motion to account for an April 19, 2002 letter from GAO General Counsel Anthony Gamboa to senior officials within the Department of Interior. Mr. Gamboa's letter demonstrates that not only was the original summary judgment motion fraudulent, but every relevant brief filed since that summary judgment motion was known to be materially false at the time it was filed.

This is the second motion for contempt filed against Secretary Norton within one week. On Friday May 31, 2002, plaintiffs filed a contempt motion to halt the obstruction of the Court Monitor and his investigation into the Secretary's failing trust reform efforts. Secretary Norton is now withholding documents and employees from the Court Monitor in violation of court orders and her own commitment to the Court.


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