Two former Navajo Nation lawmakers have pleaded no contest in a criminal case, avoiding a trial on charges that they used their positions to enrich their families financially.
Jack Colorado and Harry Clark signed plea agreements with prosecutors Monday, the same day jury selection was to begin.
The men entered pleas to a single count each of eroding Navajos' confidence in the integrity of their government — the lessor offense of conspiracy to commit bribery. Prosecutors will drop six counts of bribery against each of the men after sentencing, which hasn't been set.
Federal water managers are projecting Lake Mead will drop to levels in January 2017 that could force supply cuts to Arizona and Nevada.
Arizona's water allocation could be cut 11.4 percent and Nevada's by about 4.3 percent.
A closely watched U.S. Bureau of Reclamation report released Monday predicts water levels will be just 2 feet above a trigger point next January on the Colorado River reservoir supplying much of the Southwest's drinking water.
The so-called interim guidelines chart a decline leading to a declaration of a shortage the following year.
Newly inaugurated Navajo President Russell Begaye stood before hundreds of people at his inauguration ceremony and signed a document stating he would pursue development of an aerial tram at the Grand Canyon.
Russell Begaye has been sworn in as president of the Navajo Nation and agreed to support several of his predecessor's projects.
Begaye easily beat former two-term President Joe Shirley Jr. in a special election last month. He succeeds Ben Shelly, who served an extended term while legal challenges surrounding the election played out in court.
Begaye and Shelly signed an agreement Tuesday during the inauguration ceremony that outlines eight projects that Begaye will push forward. Among them is a controversial proposal for an aerial tram at the east rim of the Grand Canyon.
Russell Begaye will be sworn in Tuesday as president of the Navajo Nation.
Begaye easily beat former two-term President Joe Shirley Jr. in a special election last month to win the post on the country's largest American Indian reservation.
Begaye and Jonathan Nez, the vice president-elect, will serve a shorter term than usual. That's because the presidential contest was postponed by more than five months as legal challenges played out in court.