Jury selection was completed Friday for the bribery and kickback trial of suspended Navajo Chairman Peter MacDonald, and opening arguments were scheduled for Monday.
The panel of seven men and five women includes six Navajos, a Pueblo Indian and five non-Indians, said special prosecutor Robert Rothstein.Six of the 12 will be chosen to serve as the jury, and six will be alternates, Rothstein said.
Window Rock District Judge Robert Yazzie said all of the jurors would be sequestered throughout the trial, which attorneys have estimated will last four to five weeks.
Also on Friday, Yazzie signed an order for the tribe to pay $600 a day plus expenses to MacDonald's lawyers - the law firm of Roberts and Jolley of Farmington, N.M.; F.D. Moeller of Farmington; and William Cooley of Albuquerque.
Attorneys with Roberts and Jolley had been trying to withdraw from the case because MacDonald claimed he couldn't pay for his defense and the courts had refused to order the tribe to pick up the tab.
Earlier this week, defense attorneys, special prosecutors and the Navajo attorney general's office agreed to have the tribe pay for the defense. The tribe can seek reimbursement from MacDonald, possibly from his deferred compensation account, which is worth more than $40,000, said defense attorney Val Jolley.
MacDonald had said he was not involved in the agreement and called it an "unlawful taking of funds."
He is charged with 45 counts of bribery and conspiracy and ethics violations and faces fines of $22,500, 23 years in jail and removal from office if convicted on all counts.
His son and co-defendant, Peter "Rocky" MacDonald Jr., 32, is accused of aiding the alleged conspiracy by setting up bogus consulting firms.
The younger MacDonald also is a co-defendant in his father's second trial in which they face charges stemming from the tribe's purchase of the Big Boquillas ranch in northern Arizona. Middlemen allegedly made $7.2 million in the deal.
In the third trial, the elder MacDonald and suspended Navajo Vice Chairman Johnny R. Thompson face election-fraud charges.