- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) - The Latest on a former Navajo Nation lawmaker sentencing in a criminal case (all times local):

6 p.m.

A former Navajo Nation lawmaker convicted in a scheme to divert tribal funds to his children has been sentenced to three years in jail.

Mel Begay was taken into custody immediately following Tuesday’s hearing in Window Rock District Court.

His sentence also included nearly $38,000 in fines and restitution and 1,000 hours of community service.

A jury convicted Begay earlier this year on 10 criminal counts in an investigation into the Navajo Nation Council’s use of a now-defunct discretionary fund.

He’s the only Navajo official to go on trial in any of the criminal and ethics cases.

Begay plans to appeal his conviction and ask the courts to release him from jail until the tribe’s Supreme Court rules on the challenge.

___

3 a.m.

A former Navajo Nation lawmaker convicted in a scheme to divert tribal funds to his family members will be sentenced Tuesday.

Mel Begay was convicted on 10 criminal counts in the investigation of the Navajo Nation Council’s use of a now-defunct discretionary fund.

About two dozen other former lawmakers reached plea agreements with prosecutors to resolve criminal or ethics charges.

Prosecutors say Begay has shown no remorse. They’re asking a tribal judge to sentence him to three years in jail followed by a year of probation. They’re also seeking nearly $34,000 in restitution, $50,000 in fines and 1,000 hours of community service.

Begay’s attorney, Jeffrey Rasmussen, says jail time is not appropriate. He’s confident the conviction will get overturned on appeal but cannot challenge it until after the sentencing hearing.

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