Judge upholds charges against artifacts defendant

Salt Lake City, Utah (AP) August 2010

A federal judge in Utah is refusing to dismiss charges against one of the more than two dozen defendants caught up in a federal sweep of artifact looting.

A defense lawyer argued that the government was piling charges on 48-year-old Loran St. Clair of Monticello.

St. Clair was indicted on multiple counts of selling two seed jars that he got from his mother to a government informant.

His lawyer, Mark Moffatt, argues the sale was a package deal and the government shouldn’t be allowed to bring two felony charges, one for each seed jar.

U.S. District Judge Dee Benson in Salt Lake City ruled after a hearing July 30 that both charges were justified, plus a third charge blaming St. Clair for stealing the jars from tribal lands.