Trial delayed for man in artifacts case

An Orchard Mesa man who authorities allege dealt in stolen artifacts from public lands is now slated for trial early next year.

Robert B. Knowlton, 66, 1602 Dolores St., is scheduled for trial over four days starting Feb. 1 in Denver before U.S. District Court Judge Phillip Brimmer, according to recent court filings.

Knowlton’s attorney requested a delay in the start of the trial after federal prosecutors on Oct. 18 turned over 595 documents related to the investigation and 219 video and audio disks, in addition to volumes of documents from a grand jury. Also, Knowlton is still waiting on authorities to return a computer “with relevant evidence” that was seized by federal agents during a raid on his home in May, according to filings.

Knowlton pleaded not guilty on Sept. 30, and his trial had been scheduled to start Nov. 23.

Knowlton was indicted Aug. 25 by a grand jury on charges he illegally sold and shipped archeological artifacts he knew had been stolen from federal lands.

The indictment alleges Knowlton, at the time a Fort Collins resident, cut a deal with a confidential FBI informant to sell a pipe, knife and knife point in July 2008. Knowlton mailed the items in a package to Utah, which was handed over to the FBI by the informant.

The informant, referred to in court filings as “the Source,” worked for law enforcement over several years in an investigation that has so far resulted in charges against 26 people accused of dealing in relics from areas across the Four Corners region. Two people committed suicide after they were charged.

Knowlton has repeatedly declined comment on the allegations.


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