Thursday, December 12, 2013
Sotheby's Throws in the Towel
The New York Times reports that Sotheby's and the consignor of a Khmer statute have decided to drop their effort to retain title to the object in the face of a forfeiture action brought by federal prosecutors. Experienced cultural heritage lawyer Michael McCullough predicted this result months ago after a federal district court denied Sotheby's motion to dismiss the action. The costs and difficulties of pursuing such a matter against the federal government are beyond the wherewithal of most litigants, even it seems one as wealthy as Sotheby's. Sotheby's had a decent legal case, if not the great moral one. In CPO's view, it's thus too bad the federal government wasn't put to its proofs. As it is, by folding Sotheby's will only embolden the State Department's Cultural Heritage Center and its "Cultural Antiquities Task-force" to press its repatriationist agenda even further.