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3 Crow officials face criminal charges related to tribal power struggle

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Posted at 5:15 PM, Feb 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-01 19:15:46-05

Arrest warrants have been issued for three senior officials of the Crow Tribe, following last year's power struggle over tribal leadership.

Crow Vice Chairman Carlson Goes Ahead, Vice Secretary Shawn Backbone, and tribal senator Frank White Clay face criminal charges issued Tuesday from the tribe, including official misconduct, theft of financial documents, and criminal trespass. The three are also accused of removing financial documents from the financial building.

They face up to a year in prison.

Tribal prosecutor Dan Minnis told Q2 Thursday that the three violated the election ordinance in January 2019 when they and other opponents of chairman Alvin AJ Not Afraid tried to remove him through a recall election.

Not Afraid was elected in 2016, but the three officials led an effort to oust him a year ago after two separate federal audits found the tribe couldn't account for about $27 million in federal transportation grants and funds dedicated to the water system.

Not Afraid was removed but then re-installed when Crow Tribal Judge Eldena Bear Don’t Walk later blocked the election results . Until her ruling, both Not Afraid and Goes Ahead were claiming to be tribal chair, which led to First Interstate Bank temporarily freezing the tribe's assets because the bank couldn't determine who was in charge.

Attorneys for the three men denied the allegations to The Associated Press , calling the charges politically motivated ahead of this year's tribal elections.