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Judge asked to resolve artifacts dispute in Montana

Published On: Jun 24 2013 02:32:57 PM MDT
BILLINGS, Mont. -

Settlement talks have broken down between the government and the director of a Custer-themed Montana museum seeking the return of items seized during an artifact fraud investigation.
    
In court documents filed Friday, the two sides asked U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen to resolve the dispute after their negotiations came up short.
    
Custer Battlefield Museum director Christopher Kortlander says he legally possessed the 22 war bonnets, medicine bundles and other items confiscated by federal agents in 2005 and 2008.
    
The U.S. Attorney's Office says most of those items have feathers from protected eagles, making them possible contraband. The government says Kortlander has not shown he was the legal owner of the items.
    
Thousands of other artifacts and documents seized during the raids were previously returned. No charges were ever filed.