Suspended Navajo Chairman Peter MacDonald Sr. has been convicted of 41 counts of bribery and other crimes for taking money and favors from business people operating on the reservation. His son and codefendant, Peter "Rocky" MacDonald Jr., was convicted of 23 similar counts.
Before the jury verdict Wednesday, the prosecution had contended that the elder MacDonald illegally sought and accepted cash payments, loans, airplane rides and use of an automobile from businessmen seeking to curry favor. The defense said he obtained the gifts through friendship and had not threatened the business people nor promised them anything in return.
The younger MacDonald, an unemployed lawyer who lives in San Jose, Calif., was convicted of 23 counts of bribery, theft by extortion, ethics violation and conspiracy.
The conviction bars the elder MacDonald from holding tribal office for four years, although he is on the Nov. 6 ballot for tribe president, a post that replaced the chairmanship.
Both MacDonalds are to face trial again Tuesday on conspiracy charges stemming from the tribe's purchase of a ranch. A third trial, in which MacDonald Sr. faces 93 fraud counts stemming from the tribe's 1986 primary and general elections, is to begin Dec. 4.