- Associated Press - Monday, July 11, 2016

BOSTON (AP) - The Latest on a court challenge to block the Mashpee Wampanoag’s planned $1 billion casino in Massachusetts (all times local):

5 p.m.

A judge is expected to rule on whether the federal government rightly took hundreds of acres into trust for a Massachusetts tribe now building a $1 billion casino on part of their reservation lands.

Judge William Young said Monday that he’d issue a decision by the end of July following a hearing in Boston federal court where casino opponents and the Department of Justice presented their arguments.

Lawyers for casino opponents say the Department of Interior used a questionable interpretation of what constitutes a Native American under federal law in granting some 300 acres into trust for the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe. Federal government lawyers dispute this claim.

The Cape Cod-based tribe broke ground on its resort in April and hope to open the first phase next summer.


12:00 a.m.

Casino opponents are in federal court in their bid to block the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s plans to build a resort in southeastern Massachusetts.

Lawyers for 25 Taunton residents opposed to the project are expected to argue Monday in Boston federal court that the U.S. Department of Interior wrongly placed 151 acres of land in trust for the Cape Cod-based tribe.

The group argues in its February lawsuit against the department that its decision was based on a faulty interpretation of the Supreme Court’s ruling in a 2009 case involving the Narragansett Indian tribe in neighboring Rhode Island.

The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, which isn’t a party in the suit, broke ground on its First Light Resort and Casino in April. It hopes to open the first phase next summer.

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