FARMINGTON — The Navajo Nation has dropped its criminal cases against the former top financial officer who was accused of falsifying information in order to hire a company to provide COVID-19 testing to employees in the controller's office.
Window Rock Judicial Court Judge Malcolm P. Begay approved a special prosecutor's motion to dismiss the charges of unsworn falsification and abuse of office filed against former Controller Pearline Kirk.
Begay signed the court order on Nov. 26, after the Navajo Nation – through special prosecutor Charlie Galbraith – filed the motion last week.
The order also vacated the jury trial that was scheduled to start on Nov. 29 in Crownpoint Judicial Court.
David Jordan, Kirk's attorney, declined to comment on Nov. 29 about the dismissal.
Kirk, 52, had pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to a Sept. 29 news release by the Navajo Department of Justice.
Two criminal complaints were filed on May 14. Both alleged that Kirk did not follow the procurement process and misrepresented information about Agile Technologies Group LLC in order for the company to be contracted to test controller's office employees for COVID-19 and to provide other related services as they worked during the pandemic.
Navajo Nation Attorney General Doreen McPaul told the Navajo Nation Council in May that an investigation by the Justice Department revealed more than $3 million was paid to Agile Technologies from money the tribe received under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
That same month the tribal council removed Kirk from office.
Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This article originally appeared on Farmington Daily Times: Navajo Nation drops criminal cases against ex-controller Pearline Kirk