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Montana leaders held illegal hunts for musicians

The Associated Press, Friday, June 21, 2013, 8:44am (PDT)

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Three former Montana tribal leaders will avoid prison time for holding illegal big-game hunts for Country and Western musicians who were being filmed for an outdoor television show.

A federal judge sentenced Jay St. Goddard, Jay Wells and Gayle Skunkcap Jr. to three years of probation and $56,625 in restitution.

The men previously pleaded guilty to holding four hunts in 2010 and 2011 without licenses and to using Blackfeet tribal resources to guide the musicians, including Josh Thompson, Justin Moore and Mark Cooke.

Prosecutors had recommended the men each serve 15 months in prison and pay the tribe $68,625.

The defendants' attorneys said the goal was to promote the Blackfeet through publicity from the "Sovereign Sportsman" show and free concerts held by the musicians.

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