The FBI either lied to a federal judge because they had video of him Secret 2018 dig for Civil War era goldor illegally destroyed the video to prevent a father-son team of treasure hunters from gaining access to it, a lawyer for the duo claimed in new legal filings alleging a government cover-up.
The FBI has long insisted that its agents found nothing of value when searching for the fabled gold deposit. But Finders Keepers, a treasure hunt company that led agents to the remote Pennsylvania woods in hopes of a finder’s reward, suspect the FBI found tons of gold and got away with it.
After Finders Keepers began asking the government for information about the dig, the FBI initially said it could produce 17 relevant video files. Then, without explanation, the FBI reduced that number to four. Last week, by court order, the agency finally revealed the contents of those four videos — and it turns out all of them had been provided to the FBI by Finders Keepers co-owner Dennis Parada himself weeks before the dig, when he buried his evidence for offered treasures.
The FBI hasn’t said they have video of the actual dig, which is what Finders Keepers is looking for. The treasure hunters say they have evidence the FBI actually filmed video of the dig — and they are demanding sanctions against the FBI for what their lawyer described as an apparent, malicious attempt at misdirection.
On March 13, 2018, Parada’s hidden wildlife camera captured what appeared to be an FBI agent in front of a video camera at the hillside dig site with other agents in the background. That Trail cam image was joined in a legal filing late Friday by attorney Anne Weismann, who is representing Finders Keepers in their Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the government.
The photo “suggests that either the FBI falsely claimed not to have other responsive videotapes, or that the FBI illegally destroyed responsive videotapes to circumvent FOIA disclosure requirements,” Weismann wrote.
she asked a judge ordering the Justice Department to pay a portion of Finders’ Keepers’ attorneys’ fees to settle the litigation over the videos; and blaming the FBI for “covering up the results of its dig…which, according to advanced scientific technology, contained several tons of gold.” “
A message was sent to the FBI on Monday asking for comment.
The initial of the government Court-Ordered Release of Documents last month included an FBI-commissioned geophysical survey that suggested an object with a mass of up to 9 tons and a density consistent with gold was buried at the site. The FBI used the consultant’s work to obtain a search warrant to seize all gold found at the Dent’s Run site, about 135 miles (220 kilometers) northeast of Pittsburgh Legend has it that a shipment of Union gold dating back to 1863 took place was either lost or stolen en route to the US Mint in Philadelphia.
The agency has firmly denied finding anything. The treasure hunters say the FBI consistently blocked.
“Now if the FBI says they don’t have videotapes of the dig trunks and it’s taking this whole thing to the next level,” Warren Getler, who has worked closely with Finders Keepers, said Monday. “We have undeniable photographic evidence that they videotaped the excavation and interviewed their on-site incident commander. It raises a lot of serious questions.”
In addition to seeking legal fees, Weismann also asked the court to allow Finders Keepers to depose three FBI officers: Jacob Archer of the FBI’s Art Crime Team in Philadelphia, who oversaw the dig; the unknown videographer shown in the wildlife camera still; and Michael Seidel, head of the FBI’s Records Distribution Division.
“We want to answer two questions. Did the FBI make videotapes during the dig? The picture certainly seems to answer that question. And if so, what happened to those videotapes? It seems to me that these are the people best placed to have this information,” Weismann, a veteran FOIA attorney who formerly worked at the Justice Department, said in an interview Monday.
Weismann indicated in court documents that the Justice Department disagrees with both requests.
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