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Mescalero Apache Tribe, New Mexico

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Mescalero tribal government critic Carleton Palmer refused to answer questions from the tribal council, which subpoenaed him after he accused councilors of a conflict of interest. An Aug. 8 inquiry before the 10-member council and a lower court tribal judge, ended abruptly when Palmer, through a representative, invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions that might incriminate him. He has criticized what he calls closed government and is part of a group seeking a recall election for Tribal President Sara Misquez. The group said it is close to getting the petition signatures - about 480 or 25 percent of eligible voters - to force a recall. The tribal attorney who questioned Palmer did not respond to questions faxed to his Alamogordo office by the Albuquerque Journal. Misquez could not be reached for comment. Palmer said he had been prepared to substantiate his allegations at the session, but "wanted them to jerk (answers) out of me, and if they were going to take me to jail, take it all the way to the end of the line." Palmer challenged Misquez for the presidency last year.

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