Ex-Navajo lawmaker accused of funneling nearly $100K to family pleads guilty in criminal case

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WINDOW ROCK, Arizona — A former Navajo Nation lawmaker accused of funneling nearly $100,000 in tribal funds to his family has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery.

Ernest Yazzie Jr. entered his plea Wednesday in Window Rock District Court.

He was set to go to trial in October on 24 charges that included receiving kickbacks, bribery and submitting false applications for discretionary funding. He now will testify against his former colleagues on the Navajo Nation Council under an agreement with prosecutors.

Yazzie could spend 60 days in jail if he does not cooperate with prosecutors.

The charges against Yazzie were the first criminal case brought by prosecutors who took over an investigation of the council's use of discretionary funds in 2011.

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