Wednesday, September 26, 2001 6:09 PM
JUST POSTED AT www.indiantrust.com
The Cobell plaintiffs have asked the Special Master to impose sanctions on Secretary Norton for her intention to disclose the confidential financial data of individual Indian trust beneficiaries, in violation of a Court order.
"The Court has warned defendants and their counsel of penalties that may be imposed for continuing to violate Court orders, penalties that include confinement and personal financial sanctions," the plaintiffs said in a letter sent today to Special Master Alan Balaran.
Dennis M. Gingold
P.O. Box 14464
Washington, D.C. 20044-4464
September 26, 2001
Hon. Alan Balaran
1717 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20009
Re: Cobell v. Norton 1:96CV01285
Dear Mr. Balaran:
Today we received a copy of a letter from Ms. Himmelhoch of the Justice Department sent to you by facsimile on September 25, 2001, confirming Secretary Norton's intention to disclose confidential trust information about the five named plaintiffs in willful violation of the Protective Order entered by Judge Lamberth on November 27, 1996 ("Protective Order"). The Court has warned defendants and their counsel of penalties that may imposed for continuing to violate Court orders, penalties that include confinement and personal financial sanctions. Since the action threatened by Ms. Himmelhoch and Secretary Norton would be willful and in disregard of the express terms of the Protective Order, plaintiffs respectfully request that the Master, in accordance with responsibilities conferred on him under Paragraph 8 of the February 24, 1999 Order, inform the Court of existing 1 and threatened violations of the Protective Order. Moreover, plaintiffs believe that the intentional violation of court orders justifies the most severe sanctions.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Very truly yours,
Dennis M. Gingold
cc: Sarah Himmelhoch, Environment and Natural Resources Division (by facsimile)
H. Marshall Jarrett, Office of Professional Responsibility, (by facsimile)
1 Parenthetically, Ms. Himmelhoch and Secretary Norton appear to have violated the Protective Order by failing to submit the subject information to you under seal in accordance with the express written terms of the Protective Order.