US Attorney recused in Crow Creek Sioux Tribe chairman's case
For unexplained reasons, the U.S. Attorney in South Dakota and the entire office is recused in the case against Duane Big Eagle, the chairman of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe.

The indictment against Big Eagle, 60, on bribery charges was filed in federal court in South Dakota. However, the case is being handled by the U.S. Attorney in Montana.

Federal prosecutors in South Dakota handled similar cases against other Crow Creek tribal leaders. So it's not clear why the Montana office is in charge of Big Eagle's case though it's possible there is some connection to U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson, who is the son of
Sen. Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota), a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

The charges stem from a 2005 fire that destroyed a school on the reservation. Big Eagle is accused of accepting bribes from contractors who did business with the tribe.

Three other tribal leaders were convicted in the same scheme. They were removed from the tribal council and were found to have retaliated against former chairman Brandon Sazue in a case that was handled by Brendan Johnson.

Big Eagle defeated Sazue in a close election in April. Tribal members are now seeking to remove Big Eagle from office.

Get the Story:
Widening bribery case reaches Crow Creek tribal chairman (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 10/14)
Crow Creek tribal chairman accused of bribing tribal official (The Rapid City Journal 10/14)
Crow Creek tribal chairman indicted (The Mitchell Daily Republic 10/14)

Relevant Documents:
Indictment: US v. Big Eagle (October 12, 2010)

Related Stories:
Duane Big Eagle, chairman of Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, arrested (10/13)
Editorial: No more controversy for Crow Creek Sioux Tribe (5/6)
Crow Creek Sioux Tribe inaugurates leader after close vote (5/5)
Ousted Crow Creek Sioux Tribe chair challenges election (4/23)
Crow Creek Sioux chair loses reelection bid by 11 votes (4/20)
Crow Creek Sioux Tribe removes leaders after guilty pleas (3/30)