- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 13, 2016

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - An appeals court has upheld the prison sentence of a former Chippewa Cree tribal chairman.

Bruce Sunchild was sentenced last year to 34 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to theft, accepting a bribe and income tax evasion.

Sunchild sought a lighter sentence, saying the prison term imposed was unreasonable and he was a minor player in the crimes.

A 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel of judges rejected his argument Wednesday. The judges say Sunchild’s role was small but critical because of his position in the tribe.

Prosecutors say Sunchild accepted a $25,000 vehicle as a bribe after authorizing $300,000 in payments to a consulting company run by a Havre businessman.

His case was part of a wide-ranging investigation into corruption on the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation.

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