Legal

Osage Nation Attorney General resigns after arrest

Photo caption: Holli Wells has resigned as the Osage Nation's Attorney General following an arrest for DUI. She is shown in this photo after she was honored by the Sixth Osage Nation Congress in April. CODY HAMMER/Osage News

Holli Wells has resigned as the Osage Nation’s Attorney General following an arrest for Driving Under the Influence.

According to the Pawhuska Police Department report, Wells was pulled over by officers on Sept. 16 around 2:30 a.m. She was spotted driving without her vehicle’s lights on and swerving over the center line on Lynn Avenue and then again on Main Street, heading east toward Kum & Go.

“She [Wells] called me and told me what had happened, and we had a conversation. She offered her resignation and I said I’ll accept that. She did say that she was going to make claims she’s innocent of this charge, that she’s not guilty but she felt it was best for the Nation if she resigned,” said Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear. “As far as the Osage Nation, she’s done five years of what I think is good work, especially the water issues. People do not know how deeply engaged with the state of Oklahoma we have been. It’s not something we’re advertising, but we meet with the state every month and those are very serious talks.”

Standing Bear said he has received her resignation letter and has sent it to Osage Congressional Speaker Joe Tillman and to the Osage Nation Supreme Court.

According to the police report, two different types of prescribed medications were found inside Wells’ vehicle and she seemed impaired and under the influence of narcotics.

According to the report, the arresting officer explained to Wells that “her level of impairment was extremely hazardous to herself and other drivers on the roadway.” She was transported to the Pawhuska City Hospital to undergo bloodwork and then transported to the Osage County Jail.  

“I am completely innocent of driving under the influence of anything,” Wells said in a statement. “I had a blood test draw at the hospital and when the results come back from the lab the truth will shine through. Until that time, I will fight this charge vigorously!”

Standing Bear said Wells has agreed to work with First Assistant Attorney General Clint Patterson over the next couple of weeks as Patterson takes over her work.

“For me, what is really key is the water issues,” Standing Bear said. “She’s the head of that team.”

Standing Bear appointed Wells as the Nation’s attorney general in 2015, citing her experience as an environmental lawyer and experience as a former state judge. The Sixth Osage Nation Congress honored her in April for her body of work in commemoration of Women’s History Month.

Wells has worked for numerous tribal governments and the State of Oklahoma. She has served as the Assistant District Attorney for the 27th Prosecutorial District and has served as a Special District Court Judge for the 15th Judicial District for the State of Oklahoma. She has worked for many tribes across Indian Country on environmental issues and was also a researcher for the first EPA case on record between a tribal entity and various mining companies that had a dollar value of one billion. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma School of Law.

Osage County District Attorney Mike Fisher’s office could neither confirm nor deny whether charges would be filed against Wells.