Belcourt: Mistakes were made
Ex-lawmaker wants truth to come out at sentencing
April 2, 2014
GREAT FALLS - In a plea agreement covering federal six cases, former state Rep. Tony Belcourt, D-Box Elder, pleaded guilty to charges in four of them this afternoon.
"I'll accept that mistakes were made," Belcourt said after the hearing at federal court in Great Falls. "But I want the truth to come out at my sentencing hearing."
Belcourt pleaded guilty to two counts of accepting bribes, a count of tax fraud and a count of theft from a Indian tribal government receiving federal funds.
The cases allege the Belcourt and his wife, Hailey Belcourt, conspired to embezzle money going either to the regional water pipeline being built or the replacement of the 2010 flood-destroyed Chippewa Cree Tribe's clinic at Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation.
Belcourt was CEO and chief contracting officer of the Chippewa Cree Construction Corp. that was the lead contractor on those projects.
His codefendant Hunter Burns entered a guilty plea in one case this morning, and Hailey Belcourt is scheduled to changer her plea Thursday.
James Eastlick Jr., a psychologist at Rocky Boy and, according to federal prosecutors' documents, a partner in business ventures with Tony Belcourt, Burns and former Havre school board chair Shad Huston, also is scheduled to change his plea in May.
Huston is a codefendant in one of the cases in which Belcourt pleaded guilty today.
The cases against Huston and Eastlick's family from Laurel, father James Eastlick Sr. and sister and brother-in-law Tammy and Mark Leischner, still are pending.
(Expanded coverage in Thursday's Havre Daily News)