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Navajo Nation Lawmaker On Trial

A Navajo Nation lawmaker charged with enriching his children with tribal funds is going on trial.

Mel Begay says he's innocent and expects to be vindicated in the two-week trial that starts Monday in Window Rock.

Begay's trial is the first of two in criminal cases filed against 16 former and current lawmakers in the investigation of a discretionary fund meant for Navajos facing extreme hardship. The other defendants have resolved their cases through plea agreements.

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Prosecutors say Begay and his children never disclosed their relationship. Tribal law prohibits nepotism.

Begay is charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, and nine counts of making or permitting false tribal vouchers.

If convicted, he'll lose his seat on the Navajo Nation Council and could be sentenced to jail time and fines.