A federal judge on Thursday released from custody pending sentencing three former Crow Tribal Historic Preservation Office employees after a jury convicted them of corruption charges last week.
Dale Drew Old Horn, 68, the ex-director of the office; his son, Allen Joseph Old Horn, 41, a supervisor and monitor; and Shawn Talking Eagle Danforth, 38, a monitor who had a relationship with Dale Old Horn’s niece, had been in the Yellowstone County Detention Facility in Billings since last Friday.
They were released from jail Thursday afternoon.
Senior U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon in Helena found that the defendants did not pose a flight risk or danger to the community, two key factors for release.
Haddon ordered the defendants to follow release conditions, which included complying with all laws, not using or possessing firearms, drugs and alcohol and working or seeking employment.
Haddon had ordered the three into custody immediately after a jury found them guilty Aug. 16 of conspiracy, corrupt diversion of tribal revenues/mail fraud and theft in a double-billing scheme that netted $500,000.
Allen Old Horn also was convicted of extortion and income-tax fraud charges.
Defense attorneys filed motions seeking their clients’ release pending sentencing Dec. 10. The defendants face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
Dale Old Horn’s attorney, Matt Wald, said Old Horn and his wife are supporting and raising three grandchildren from their deceased daughter, Danelle Old Horn.
Danelle Old Horn was indicted in the case but died last December.
“Until last week, Dale Old Horn was employed by the executive branch of the Crow Tribe,” Wald said.
Old Horn was terminated as the office’s director when the investigation began in November 2011.
He was hired by the tribe’s current administration as part of a group making recommendations how to preserve Crow culture.
The tribe’s chairman is Old Horn’s nephew, Darrin Old Coyote, who, in his previous position as tribal vice secretary, oversaw the office while Old Horn was director.