Bradford: Saginaw Chippewa man found guilty in tribal court
Ed. Note: The Indian Civil Rights Act limits tribal court sentences to one year although stacked sentences appears to be an open issue.

"Tribal Judge Bruce E. Plackowski rewrote tribal rules today at the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan to secure a guilty verdict for Gary Sprague, the brother of Bernie Sprague, a former SubChief who provided false testimony against Republican super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff in the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in 2004, inside sources said.

According to tribal witnesses, the judge was so determined to acquire a conviction that he rewrote jury instructions on the day of trial in order to get one. As a result, Gary Sprague, who was convicted of 12 counts of the “threat of intimidation,” could spend up to three years in prison. Essentially, Sprague is facing the wrath of the law for confiding in his personal physician, Dr. Daniel Radowski, his outrage that the Tribal Council of Chief Fred Cantu had added more fictitious tribal members onto the membership rolls into order to secure their seats in the upcoming tribal election. A champion of Native rights who has challenged fraud in the tribe's membership office, Sprague has long been investigating embezzlement and fraud which is at the heart of the Abramoff investigation.

Cantu, who was seen conferring with the judge prior to Sprague's conviction, claims to have an inside line with McCain. “Sen. John McCain drops everything to take my calls,” Cantu boasted in an interview. The degree to which McCain has influenced his contacts on Indian reservations to silence critics who are aware and prepared to speak out against his manufactured scandal against Abramoff is unknown.

Perhaps the greatest victims of the Abramoff scandal are the Republican super-lobbyist's tribal supporters. Recently, for example, Delores Jackson, a leading Abramoff defender and Saginaw Chippewa Indian who appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle to refute Bernie's false allegations against the lobbyist during his sentencing, succumbed to cancer. Radowski, the tribal physician who had been tending to her, greeted Jackson's prognosis with glee."

Get the Story:
Susan Bradford: Tribal Judge Rewrites Rules to Convict Abramoff Witness (The Conservative Camp 5/19)

Related Stories:
Bradford: Saginaw Chippewa man battles 'fictitious' Indians (5/17)
Bradford: 'Casino Jack' an inaccurate account of Abramoff (5/6)
Opinion: Abramoff figure and corruption in Indian Country (5/3)
Opinion: Saginaw Chippewa prepares for tribal court fight (04/13)
Opinion: A plan to separate tribal governments and casinos (4/5)
Opinion: McCain turns deaf ear to Saginaw Chippewa man (03/29)
Opinion: 'Liberal elites' saw dollar signs in Indian tribes (3/17)