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Local News

December 9, 2011

Land-reclamation arrest

(Continued)

MALONE —

'TIME HAS COME'

White said exploring the legal case would bring "a resurgence of our beliefs, our rights and our laws," adding that the region's local, state and federal elected officials now "have the opportunity to understand" the issues involved in the boundary claim that was brought against the U.S. government in August 2009.

"It is time has come for us to be heard," the attorney said.

Champagne said he agrees with White's assessment that this case could have a broader reach, but his job is to prosecute a crime he says is occurring in front of him.

"This case has political ramifications, and someone has to get the ball rolling," he said. "But being a constitutionally elected official, my belief was that a crime was being committed in my presence. I brought the charges to the grand jury, and things were set in motion."

'BY FORCE'

The DA said others could face arrest.

"When we looked at the evidence and testimony, the question became who was in charge at a particular time or calling the shots, so to speak," Champagne said. "We'll start with Mr. Jock, and we'll see where we go from there."

Malone attorney Brian Stewart, who represents Wuersching locally, said his client was aware of the arraignment but couldn't be there because he is elderly.

He agrees that land claims are the crux of the issue in Jock's arrest, but that occurs "when people don't talk to each other in good faith, and people try to get a resolution of the issue by force, which is, unfortunately, what happened."

TRIBAL COUNCIL SPEAKS

The Tribal Council issued a statement late Friday saying it is using alternate means to settle the land-claim issue and does not agree with occupying deeded land.

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