Ex-Navajo Nation lawmaker pleads no contest in criminal case, avoids weeklong trial

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WINDOW ROCK, Arizona — A former Navajo Nation lawmaker has pleaded no contest in a criminal case accusing her of funneling $12,650 to her family.

Lena Manheimer's plea Thursday to a charge of conspiracy to commit bribery means she'll avoid a weeklong trial that had been set to start Monday. The Window Rock District Court has since postponed the trial for two co-defendants.

The plea is not an admission of guilt but an acknowledgement that prosecutors had enough evidence to obtain a conviction.

Prosecutors agreed to drop six counts of bribery against Manheimer. She will serve probation and community service as long as she cooperates with prosecutors in cases against her former colleagues.

A sentencing date hasn't been set.

The charges stem from an investigation of a Navajo Nation Council discretionary fund that no longer exists.

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