The case of the Navajo Nation v. Mel Begay took another twist last week when he was released from tribal jail after paying a $4,500 bond pending his appeal before the Navajo Supreme Court.
Begay was given a three-year sentence in June by Window Rock District Court Judge Carol Perry after a six-member Navajo jury convicted him of 11 counts of misuse of some $33,000 in tribal discretionary funds that was illegally given to his family members.
No date has been set for oral arguments on the appeal as of yet, according to court officials.
Begay’s appeal covers a multitude of issues that were brought up during his two-week-long trial by his attorney, Jeffery Rasmussen.
According to the appeal, Begay’s problems with receiving due process began before the trial began when the court refused to dismiss the case when Begay “showed that the scope of the special prosecutor’s limited appointment did not extend to any of the charges brought against him.”
Rasmussen also charged that the jury was “improperly composed” and that he was barred “from meaningful cross-examination of the witnesses, absolutely barred from presenting evidence in defense, and the judge admitted evidence that even a first-year law student would know is inadmissible.”