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Trial Begins For Navajo Nation Lawmaker

Opening arguments are scheduled Wednesday in the trial of a Navajo Nation lawmaker charged with misusing tribal funds.

Prosecutors say Mel Begay funneled nearly $34,000 to his six children from 2006 to 2010. He's charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, and nine count of submitting or permitting false tribal vouchers.

Eight people were chosen Tuesday to hear the case in Window Rock tribal court. Not enough potential jurors had shown up Monday.

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Begay has maintained he is innocent. He faces the loss of his legislative seat, jail time and fines if convicted.

Begay's attorneys had asked the tribe's Supreme Court to dismiss the case, challenging the impartiality of the tribal judge, the prosecutors' authority and the statute of limitations.

The high court justices denied the requests Tuesday.