Former Passamaquoddy leader pleads not guilty

Robert L. Newell, a former leader of the Passamaquoddy Tribe of Maine, pleaded not guilty to charges that he misused $1.7 million in federal funds.

Newell, 64, who was the governor of the tribe's Indian Township reservation, faces 30 counts of conspiracy to defraud and making false statements. Federal prosecutors say he put tribal council members and relatives on the tribe's payroll as "ghost" employees.

According to The Bangor Daily News, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Maine put 40 people on the "no-contact" list for Newell and James J. Parisi Jr., the tribe's former business manager who is also charged in connection with the scheme. The defendants aren't allowed to contact current Indian Township Gov. Billy Nicholas, his immediate family and tribal employees in case those people are called as witnesses.

"This is a town of 800 people and 40 is a significant fraction of the population," Newell's attorney said, the paper reported. "There are people on this list that he can’t avoid. It seems unreasonable."

Get the Story:
Former tribal officials plead not guilty (The Bangor Daily News 4/2)
Former Passamaquoddy Tribe Governor Arraigned On Federal Fraud Charges (WCSH 4/1)

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