Attorney seeks delay in artifacts trial

An attorney for an Orchard Mesa man facing trial next month on federal charges relating to stolen archeological artifacts has asked a judge for a delay, citing new evidence presented by prosecutors in recent weeks.

The new information, on top of some 1,800 pages of information and numerous recordings and e-mails, requires extensive defense interviews with witnesses, most of whom reside in Utah, attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca wrote in a motion to continue a jury trial for 66-year-old Robert Knowlton.

Knowlton’s trial is slated to start July 6 in Denver.

“Defendant needs additional time to contact these witnesses and conduct defense investigation regarding newly disclosed information,” Pagliuca wrote in the motion.

U.S. prosecutor Robert Mydans has said he doesn’t object to a delay.

The defense’s motion comes several weeks after U.S. District Judge Philip Brimmer denied a motion to throw out hours of video and audio recordings between Knowlton and informant Ted Gardiner, the 52-year-old Salt Lake City artifacts dealer who committed suicide in February. Gardiner was paid by the FBI and his cooperation helped secure criminal charges against 26 people, including Knowlton.

Knowlton’s defense unsuccessfully argued that Gardiner’s undercover recordings, if played at trial, would violate Knowlton’s right under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment.

Knowlton was indicted last years on allegations he sold three items, which prosecutors say were stolen from federal lands, and then mailed them across state lines to Gardiner in Utah in violation of federal law.


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