Outgoing US Attorney Addresses Future Of Cases Involving Tribal Jurisdiction

Friday, February 26th 2021, 6:10 pm


After last summer’s Supreme Court ruling on tribal jurisdiction, the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Oklahoma are seeing triple the number of cases.

Friday is the last day in office for U.S. Attorney Brian Kuester, but he wants to reassure Oklahomans his office will pick up where he left off.

Kuester said it's been a challenging but rewarding three and half years in office. He's handled drug busts, fraud, and most recently, the ruling on tribal jurisdiction.

"We knew what was coming. However, it's really very difficult to envision what sort of a transformation is going to have to occur for us to handle that new case load," Kuester told News on 6. 

The Eastern District encompasses land of the five civilized tribes. Kuester said if the other four tribes are recognized under the Supreme Court ruling, the district will have the most tribal cases in the whole country. 

Kuester said, in just eight months, his office went from handling six tribal cases, to more than 300. He said to help with the surge in cases, his office brought in seven outside attorneys and is hiring more.

"One might say there's an insurmountable wave for cases coming in. They don't see it that way, they see it as, we're going to work hard, we're going to do all that we can to be prepared," Kuester explained. 

Chris Wilson will step in as acting U.S. Attorney. Kuester said he leaves the office knowing his office is in good hands.

"I know that some people might expect the head of the office is leaving what's going to happen next? But there's a very stable continuity plan in place. I'm proud of the team here and I'm proud I was a part of that team and proud that I created that team," Kuester added.