WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal judge has ruled that American Indian
plaintiffs are entitled to $455 million in a long-running trust
case, a fraction of the $47 billion they wanted.
But U.S. District Judge James Robertson did not say how the
government should award the money, writing that his opinion
"leaves for another day the question of how and to whom the award
should be distributed."
Robertson's final number is close to government estimates and
far from the billions sought by plaintiffs in the 12-year trial.
The lawsuit - filed on behalf of a half-million American Indians
and their heirs - claims they were swindled out of billions of
dollars in oil, gas, grazing, timber and other royalties overseen
by the Interior Department since 1887.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)