A federal judge in Washington this afternoon preliminarily approved a landmark $3.4 billion settlement in a longstanding class action litigation over the mismanagement of trust fund assets for hundreds of thousands of Native Americans.

Lawyers for lead plaintiff Elouise Cobell and a team of Justice and Interior Department attorneys urged Senior Judge Thomas Hogan to approve the deal. Hogan’s order kicks off a comprehensive notice plan to inform potentially 600,000 beneficiaries of the deal between the plaintiffs and the government.

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