FROM THE ARCHIVE
Norton ordered to testify next week
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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2002

Over the objections of government lawyers, a federal judge on Thursday ordered Secretary of Interior Gale Norton to testify in her own contempt trial.

Attorneys representing 300,000 American Indian beneficiaries had earlier said they wanted to call Norton to the stand. U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth had also expressed interest and after questioning her whereabouts, he told her legal team to bring her to court next Wednesday at 10 a.m.

But whether Norton will answer the questions that have been on the minds of many is a different issue. On Wednesday, she avoided responding to pointed questions during a Congressional hearing.

Norton's appearance, however, will signal the end of the contempt trial. The Department of Justice rested her defense this week after calling Deputy Secretary J. Steven Griles to the stand.

The move cuts short witnesses the government was expecting to call, including Bert T. Edwards, the official in charge of providing an historical accounting to Indian account holders. More noticeably, no witnesses will testify to defend Norton on the information technology contempt charge.

Attorneys for the beneficiaries indicated they might call other rebuttal witnesses in addition to Norton.

Earlier in the week, an employee from DataComm Sciences, the contractor handling the data cleanup subproject of trust reform, and Dom Nessi, a former Bureau of Indian Affairs official, testified on the government's behalf.

While the action in court was occurring, Norton was in Salt Lake City, Utah, touring the Navajo Nation's Olympic pavilion. Aides repeatedly informed Indianz.Com of the trip and sent pictures via the Internet -- but not from an Interior e-mail account -- to prove she and her husband were actually there.

Once Norton's testimony is complete, both sides will make their closing arguments.

Today, the parties will meet in court at 2 p.m. to discuss evidentiary issues, said plaintiffs' attorney Dennis Gingold.

Today on Indianz.Com:
Audit finds more security holes (2/8)

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust, Department of Interior - http://www.doi.gov/indiantrust
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton - http://www.indiantrust.com
Trust Reform, NCAI - http://130.94.214.68/main/pages/
issues/other_issues/trust_reform.asp

Related Stories:
Trust system takes center stage in contempt (2/1)
Federal judge resuming Norton contempt trial (1/31)
Norton effort 'too little, too late' for judge (1/16)
Interior official denies trust fund 'conspiracy' (1/15)
Witness testifies against software corruption (1/15)
Dom Nessi expected as Norton witness (1/14)
Norton launches contempt defense (1/11)
Cobell plaintiffs rest case (1/10)
End in sight for Norton contempt trial (1/10)
Top trust official lacks 'confidence' in reform (1/9)
Babbitt, others dropped as witnesses (1/9)
Trial resumes with trust testimony (1/7)
Contempt trial resumes in federal court (1/4)
Cobell: Justice for Indian Country (12/24)
Contempt trial breaking for Christmas (12/21)
IIM checks being delayed at Interior (12/21)
Interior can't find proof of corruption (12/21)
Tribal leaders blast Norton proposal (12/21)
Reports crucial to Norton contempt (12/21)
TAAMS failure traced to first manager (12/20)
TAAMS: The Titanic Failure (12/20)
Judge questions role in trust fund 'circus' (12/20)
Norton drops objections to court monitor (12/20)
TAAMS: The Titanic Failure (12/20)
Judge questions role in trust fund 'circus' (12/20)
TAAMS failure traced to promoted manager (12/20)
Ruling on court monitor put off (12/20)
Norton ordered to submit trust fund report (12/18)
Judge rebuffs Norton challenge (12/17)
Week two of trial continues today (12/17)
History of neglect drives trust case (12/17)
Judge eager for Norton testimony (12/13)
Editorial: Bad faith, wasted dollars (12/13)
Confusion, conflict detailed at Interior (12/12)
Exclusive: Trust reform assessment (12/12)
Lamberth pokes fun at government (12/12)
EDS trust reform report online (12/12)
Coverage of Contempt Trial, Day 2 (12/12)
Contempt trial continues (12/11)
Contested reports focus of contempt trial (12/11)
The Trial: Witnesses to Contempt (12/11)
Coverage of Contempt Trial, Day 1 (12/11)
Norton contempt trial opens (12/10)
Norton attacks court monitor (12/10)
Norton set for contempt trial (12/10)

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