LOS ANGELES (AP) — A dispute over an 840-pound emerald was renewed Monday in a Los Angeles courtroom with a judge trying to decide if a businessman is the rightful owner to the gem that has been appraised at $372 million.
An attorney representing one of three parties staking claim to the rare Bahia Emerald made his arguments in the non-jury retrial, according to City News Service. Lawyer Steven Smith said his client Anthony Thomas paid $60,000 for the emerald but he never received the jewel and thought it had been stolen.
A judge in April 2011 tentatively dismissed Thomas' claim, saying his story was simply not credible. The judge was later sworn in as a federal district judge and replaced by current Judge Michael Johnson who declared a mistrial because he wanted to hear the case himself and make an independent ruling.
After Johnson making his ruling on Thomas' rights, another trial will take place to determine the claims of gem buyer Mark Downie and business Ferrara Morrison Holdings. Attorneys for both parties said Thomas never insured the emerald and doesn't have a receipt for its purchase.
"He (Thomas) is not credible for any one of a great number of reasons," lawyer Browne Greene said on behalf of FM Holdings. "There was no legal action taken by Mr. Thomas until he jumped in on someone else's lawsuit."
The Bahia is one of the world's largest emeralds with about 180,000 carats and stands about three feet tall. The gem has had a long, circuitous journey since Thomas had himself photographed with it in a carport in Brazil in 2001.
It was later said to have been stored at a warehouse in New Orleans that was flooded during Hurricane Katrina then stolen from another warehouse in the Los Angeles suburb of El Monte. It was sighted briefly in Idaho before authorities finally seized it in Las Vegas in 2008.
The gem is now being held in storage by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department until the case is resolved.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Two Hobbs men face capital murder charges in Texas after being charged with the death of a woman whose body was dumped in New Mexico.
Thieves broke into an Albuquerque fire station while the firefighters were off helping kids.
UNM athletics is rolling out a new points program to determine which fans get access to The Pit's best seats, postseason tickets and prime parking spots.
A recent Christmas Eve tradition that's become increasingly popular in Santa Fe has been shot down.
Police said a homeowner and his 11-year-old son stopped two burglars dead in their tracks. They walked in on the alleged heist, but weren't about to let the suspected thieves get away with it, and they got creative with the way they …
What happened to one of four local officers shot in a dramatic October chase now has the attention of city, county, and even state lawmakers as they discuss proposing a policy that would ensure she will be the last first responder to get …