The former chairman of a Massachusetts tribe is seeking to dismiss some of the federal bribery and extortion charges he's facing over the tribe's long planned casino project.
Cedric Cromwell, former chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoags, filed a motion last week to dismiss three bribery counts. Cromwell also said in the filing that he reserves the right to file a separate motion to dismiss a number of extortion charges he faces.
David DeQuattro, the owner of an architecture firm in Providence, Rhode Island indicted with Cromwell, also filed a motion to dismiss his bribery charges.
Federal prosecutors say Cromwell used his position as chairman to extort tens of thousands of dollars in bribes and engaged in a conspiracy with DeQuattro to commit bribery.
They say DeQuattro provided Cromwell with payments and other benefits valued at nearly $60,000 in exchange for nearly $5 million in contracts with the tribe. Prosecutors say Cromwell then spent the payments on personal expenses.
Their lawyers say they deny the charges.
The Cape Cod-based tribe, which traces its ancestry to the Native Americans who shared a fall harvest meal with the Pilgrims in 1621, has faced years of legal setbacks for its planned First Light casino.