Impeachment in Cherokee

A timeline of impeachment week

A timeline of impeachment week

Impeachment hearings to consider charges against Principal Chief Patrick Lambert stretched on for three days last week, with Tribal Council holding four hours of closed-door deliberations before voting to remove Lambert from office. To view the impeachment hearings in their entirety, visit

Monday, May 22

• 9 a.m. The hearing begins with prosecuting attorney Rob Saunooke and defense attorney Scott Jones making their opening statements. 

• 10 a.m. Saunooke begins to make his case, calling Secretary of Finance Erik Sneed as his first witness. Subsequent prosecution witnesses are Chief of Staff Sage Dunston, Purchasing Manager Megan Yates, Sharon Blankenship and Rebecca Claxton of the Office of Internal Audit, Vice Chief Richie Sneed, Councilmembers Albert Rose and Bo Crowe, and former Cherokee Recreation Life Manager Tosh Welch. 

• 5 p.m. Testimony ends for the day. 

Tuesday, May 23

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• 9 a.m. The hearing resumes with testimony from prosecution witness Curtis Wildcatt, interim manager for the Tribal Employment Rights Office. 

• 10 a.m. The defense begins its case, calling Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Revenue Manager Melanie Foreman as its first witness. Subsequent witnesses are Erik Sneed, Secretary of Human Resources Marsha Jackson, Tribal Planning and Analysis Manager Angie Votaw, Harrah’s Cherokee Regional Vice President for Finance Adele Madden and Albert Rose. 

• 2 p.m. Principal Chief Patrick Lambert takes the stand as a witness. 

• 5 p.m. The defense finishes questioning Lambert and the hearing recesses for the day. 

Wednesday, May 24

• 9 a.m. The hearing resumes with Saunooke’s cross-examination of Lambert. Following a brief redirect from Jones, Tribal Council members then ask their own questions. 

• 2 p.m. Final arguments are heard. 

• 3:45 p.m. Tribal Council begins its closed-session deliberation toward a verdict. 

• 5 p.m. Deliberation ends for the day. 

Thursday, May 25

• Noon. Tribal Council resumes deliberation

• 3 p.m. Deliberation concludes and Tribal Council members cast their votes on a verdict. Lambert is found guilty on eight of 12 counts, and Council votes 9-3 to remove him from office and swear in Vice Chief Richie Sneed as the new principal chief. 

• 4 p.m. The swearing-in for Richie Sneed is set to begin at the council house when an angry outburst from the crowd prompts Sneed and most councilmembers to evacuate for a more private swearing-in at the EBCI Justice Center. 

• 5 p.m. Lambert exits the council house to address supporters waiting outside.

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