Check the Bill When It Comes to Your Rights

Well, that’s jacked up! Talk about a Rube Goldberg way of getting ripped off:

RALEIGH, N.C. – An original copy of the Bill of Rights that was given to North Carolina by George Washington back in 1789 was returned to the state Thursday…
…The stolen document was sold by the Union soldier in 1866 to an Ohio buyer, whose family sold it to Connecticut antiques dealer Wayne Pratt in 2000 for $200,000.
In March 2003, an FBI agent posing as a museum buyer pretended to purchase the paper from Pratt and his investor, Robert V. Matthews, for $5 million. Instead, the agent presented a seizure warrant signed by the judge in the case.
Pratt relinquished his ownership claim to the document and has agreed to donate the document to North Carolina. Matthews continues to claim partial ownership of the paper, which has been valued at up to $40 million.
U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle last year awarded the document to North Carolina, but in January, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., told the judge to reconsider.
Boyle determined the document should return to the possession of the person or entity who owned it before the government’s sting operation. He ruled Thursday that Pratt had the clearest right to possession, but had relinquished the claim to North Carolina.
“It’s just thievery; it’s absolute thievery,” said Matthews’ attorney, Mike Stratton of New Haven, Conn. “Bob Matthews paid real money, $200,000, to buy a document that’s been in private hands for 140 years.”

How can you get caught in a sting operation for something you bought legally three years before? If Norf Cackelackey was so desperate to have it back, why didn’t they track it down and buy/steal it back sometime in the preceding century and a half? So they ‘sting’ this guy, pressure him to ‘give it up’, he ‘gives it up’, an appeals judge says reconsider, so the district judge says okay, it really was his but it’s not now ’cause he ‘gave it up‘? I’m with the lawyer for $200K, Alex. Remember when that guy found the Declaration of Independence hidden behind the old print? Norman Lear eventually bought it for over $8 million. If I were him, I’d be checkin’ the bushes for the Feds.

One Response to “Check the Bill When It Comes to Your Rights”

  1. The Real JeffS says:

    During the “War of Northern Aggression” (as the Civil War is called by some people), Union soldiers were known to loot other valuables during the Southern campaigns. Silverware and jewelry comes to mind, beyond documents. A lot of this stuff became family heirlooms. Yes, they were family heirlooms before changing ownership, but now we are discussing a new family line.
    Which leads me to wonder if the FBI is going to start monitoring estate transactions as an attempt to return all that stolen material back to the South.
    Just askin’, y’know! It’s only fair.

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