Utah artifacts defendant claims jewelry is legal

By Paul Foy
Salt Lake City, Utah (AP) October 2010

One of the two dozen defendants caught up in a Four Corners bust of artifact trafficking says he can’t be prosecuted for a collection of ancient jewelry found on private land.

Brandon Laws is asking a judge to toss out charges of theft and trafficking.

His attorney, Mark J. Gregersen, says prosecutors have offered no evidence that the artifacts the Blanding, Utah, man offered a government informant - bone and shell necklaces and accessories - came from tribal lands as an indictment alleges.

A hearing that was supposed to be held last week for Laws was postponed indefinitely by U.S. District Court Judge Ted Stewart, who was tied up in a trial over a patent dispute.