The long-running case of a former deep-sea treasure hunter marking his sixth 12 months in jail for refusing to reveal the whereabouts of lacking gold cash has hit one more roadblock.
Analysis scientist Tommy Thompson has been held in contempt of courtroom since December 15, 2015, for that refusal.
He’s additionally incurring a each day nice of $1400.
A listening to held Monday in hopes of serving to draw the case to a conclusion ended with a federal choose giving Mr Thompson two months to discover a new lawyer forward of one more listening to.
Mr Thompson’s case dates to his discovery of the S.S. Central America, often called the Ship of Gold, in 1988. The gold rush-era ship sank in a hurricane off South Carolina in 1857 with 1000’s of kilos of gold aboard, contributing to an financial panic.
Regardless of an buyers lawsuit and a federal courtroom order, Mr Thompson, 69, nonetheless will not cooperate with authorities looking for 500 cash minted from a few of the gold, based on courtroom information, federal prosecutors and Algenon Marbley, the choose who discovered Thompson in contempt.
Mr Thompson has beforehand stated, with out offering particulars, that the cash — valued at about $3.5million — have been turned over to a belief in Belize.
After Mr Thompson failed to look for a 2012 Ohio listening to to debate the cash, US marshals ultimately tracked him to Florida in 2015 and arrested him.
Mr Thompson pleaded responsible in April 2015 to skipping that listening to and was sentenced to 2 years in jail and a $350,206 nice.
However his legal sentence has been delayed till the difficulty of the gold cash is resolved.
Mr Thompson, who has gone by a number of attorneys, is presently housed in a federal detention centre in Milan, Michigan.
Mr Thompson informed Mr Marbley on Monday that he is having hassle discovering a safe cellphone or pc connection to debate his case with potential legal professionals.
A message looking for remark was left with the power.
Mr Thompson additionally stated he continues to endure the results of systemic exertional intolerance illness, also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis or power fatigue syndrome, which additionally impacts his short-term reminiscence.
“It’s onerous to elucidate the variety of roadblocks,” Mr Thompson stated.
“I don’t relaxation on my laurels; I’m working on a regular basis right here. It’s onerous to speak right here.”
Mr Marbley gave Mr Thompson till March 21 to search out an lawyer to argue pending motions Mr Thompson has made, together with for compassionate launch due to considerations in regards to the unfold of the coronavirus behind bars.
“None of us desires this matter to pull on interminably,” Mr Marbley stated.
Federal legislation typically limits jail time for contempt of courtroom to 18 months. However a federal appeals courtroom in 2019 rejected Mr Thompson’s argument that that legislation applies to him, saying his refusal violates situations of a plea settlement.
On January 14, the most important S.S. Central America ingot ever supplied at public sale, an 25-kilogram discover often called a Justh & Hunter ingot, offered for $3.03 million by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions.