- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 19, 2014

HAVRE, Mont. (AP) - A woman charged with embezzling more than $50,000 from the tribal health clinic on the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation will be representing herself at trial after rejecting four public defenders, a federal judge has ruled.

Fawn Tadios recently requested a fifth public defender, the Havre Daily News (https://bit.ly/PPAxZI ) reports.

“I am intimidated by this court and do not believe that I will receive a fair trial,” Tadios wrote in her March 7 request. “I am at a disadvantage against skilled, experienced U.S. attorneys.”

Prosecutors reluctantly supported her request.

“Although this defendant has abused the system with her repeated substitutions of counsel and tried the patience of her assigned attorneys, the court and the United States, under these circumstances the United States must concur in the motion for appointment of counsel,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Carl Rostad wrote in a reply brief. However, he asked that U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris prohibit Tadios from filing complaints against or trying to dismiss the next attorney.

“Her obstructive behavior has abused the process and made a mockery of the constitutional right to counsel,” Rostad wrote.

Morris agreed with that prohibition, but Tadios did not.

“Defendant refused to accept new counsel on these terms and informed the court that she wished to represent herself in this matter despite the court’s repeated warnings that proceeding pro se was dangerous and not in her best interests,” Morris wrote in the court order.

Tadios, the former director of the health clinic, was indicted in June on two counts of theft from an Indian tribal organization receiving federal grants, theft from an Indian tribal organization and theft from a health care facility.

Prosecutors alleged she used the money to visit her husband, a former Chippewa Cree tribal chairman who was in a federal prison in North Dakota after pleading guilty to putting $59,000 in personal charges on a tribal credit card.

Two federal public defenders were initially appointed to represent Tadios, but they were removed from the case in September at her request. One of the attorneys said a “communication breakdown” had occurred.

Another attorney was appointed, but he was removed on Nov. 11.

The court appointed a fourth attorney, but he was terminated on March 6.


Information from: Havre Daily News, https://www.havredailynews.com

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