The Marion True trial: continued struggle in the courtroom

Specific artefacts are called into question



The latest hearing in the trial of the former Getty antiquities curator Marion True, who is charged with conspiring to receive illegally excavated antiquities, took place in Rome on 31 May.

The first part of the day heard evidence about documents seized from the Antike Kunst Palladion, a gallery in Basel owned by the Sicilian antiquities dealer Gianfranco Becchina, including paperwork which detailed the gallery’s relationship with Fiorella Cottier Angeli, an official with Swiss customs and a collector who often authenticated objects for the gallery and allowed them into Switzerland.

The second part of the hearing took evidence from Salvatore Morando, a sergeant with the Carabineri. Sergeant Morando related how Italian excise officers had seized ancient marble artefacts in 1978. The works were traced, years later, to the storerooms of the Civic Museum in the town of Foggia in south-eastern Italy.

He pointed out that these exceptionally rare, coloured marble pieces included a pair of griffins killing a doe, and significantly, that an identical work had been acquired by the Getty Museum in the mid 1980s for around $6.5m from Maurice Tempelsman in New York (see left—the Getty has now agreed to return this to Italy).

The court was then shown a photograph of the Getty griffins which was discovered in a warehouse in Geneva belonging to disgraced dealer Giacomo Medici. The next hearing is scheduled for 17 July.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'The Marion True trial: in the courtroom'