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Navajo council speaker's attorneys seek solo trial

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. -- Attorneys for the Navajo Nation's legislative leader say combining the criminal trials of five people facing bribery charges would confuse jurors.

The comments came Thursday in a response to a request by prosecutors to consolidate a handful of trials in Window Rock District Court. Prosecutors say doing so would save tens of thousands of dollars in court expenses, jury fees and prosecution.

Attorneys for Navajo Nation Council Speaker Johnny Naize disagree. They say the complex issues and variety of defenses would create more challenges.

Judge Carol Perry has not ruled on the request.

The prosecutors are seeking to join the trials for Naize, a fellow lawmaker and three former Tribal Council delegates. The bribery charges stem from an investigation into the use of tribal discretionary funds.

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