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Getty museum vows to fight Italy court decision on prized statue

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A US museum has vowed to fight a decision by Italy’s highest court which this week ordered that a prized bronze statue at the center of an epic legal dispute be returned to Italy.

In a statement, the J. Paul Getty Museum said the more than 2,000-year-old statue named “Victorious Youth” was found in international waters in 1964 and was legally purchased by the museum in 1977.

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“We will continue to defend our legal right to the statue,” Lisa Lapin, vice president for communications at the Getty Trust, said in a statement issued on Monday.

“The law and facts in this case do not warrant restitution to the Italian government of a statue that has been on public display in Los Angeles for nearly a half century.”

She added that any forfeiture order “is contrary to American and International law.”

The decision handed down on Monday by Italy’s supreme court came after a decade-long legal battle over the sculpture, also known as the Getty Bronze or by the name of its presumed sculptor Lysippos, one of the most prized antiquities on display at the Getty Villa, located on the outskirts of Los Angeles.

“Now we hope the US authorities will act as soon as possible to favor restitution of the Lysippos to Italy,” Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli told the ANSA news agency following the court’s decision.

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– ‘Final word from Italy’ –

GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File / Stefanie Keenan The Getty Villa on October 11, 2018

The Getty, however, said it was not ready to surrender the relic.

Lapin said the museum had extensively researched the origins of the prized statue before purchasing it from an antiques dealer in Germany for $3.95 million, years after Italy’s highest court had concluded there was no evidence the object belonged to Italy.

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“The statue is not and has never been part of Italy’s cultural heritage,” Lapin said. “Accidental discovery by Italian citizens does not make the statue an Italian object.

“Found outside the territory of any modern state, and immersed in the sea for two millennia, the Bronze has only a fleeting and incidental connection with Italy.”

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Italian officials dispute Getty’s arguments and maintain that the life-size statue was found off Italy’s Adriatic coast by Italian fishermen and as such rightfully belongs to the state.

They say the statue was sold to an Italian art dealer after its discovery and was subsequently sold several times before it was smuggled illegally out of the country and eventually purchased by the Getty.

Last June, a judge in Pesaro, a coastal town on the Adriatic Coast, ruled that the statue be confiscated. The Getty museum had appealed the decision and Italy’s supreme court rejected the appeal on Monday.

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Pesaro prosecutor Silvia Cecchi told local media that the court’s decision “was the final word from the Italian justice” system and that the statue must be returned.

“It must be very clear that the order is effective immediately and we will apply this principle by notifying the American authorities,” Cecchi said.

In 2007, following long negotiations, The Getty agreed to return more than 40 works of art to Italy after questions were raised about their provenance.


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WATCH: John Oliver exposes Trump’s lies about vote-by-mail — and the Fox News ‘cult’ claiming the election is already ‘rigged’

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"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver's main story Sunday refuted President Donald Trump's latest crusade against vote-by-mail. Trump announced on Twitter that the more people who vote in an election, the more Republicans tend to lose. So, he wants fewer people to have access to the ballot in November, even if people are too scared to go out during the coronavirus crisis.

Oliver called out Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R-MO), who outright told people not to vote if they were too afraid to vote in the local elections next week.

"Well, hold on there," Oliver interjected. "Voting is a right. It has to be easy to understand and accessible to anyone."

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John Oliver rips Fox News’ Tucker Carlson for urging ‘order’ from people of color — but never demanding it of police

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John Oliver opened his Sunday show, shredding Fox News host Tucker Carlson for uring "order" among protesters, but refusing to urge "order" to police and "wannabe police" who can't stop killing people.

It's a lot, Oliver explained. "How these protests are a response to a legacy of police misconduct, both in Minneapolis and the nation at large and how that misconduct is, itself, built on a legacy of white supremacy that prioritizes the comfort of white Americans over the safety of people of color."

While some of it is complicated, Oliver conceded, most of it is "all too clear."

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Cars set on fire blocks from White House as DC protests turn violent

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The Washington, D.C. protests turned violent as the city approached the 11 p.m. curfew the mayor instituted Sunday afternoon.

The policy of D.C. police is that when they are attacked, they advance forward. So, when fireworks were fired, the line of officers began pushing the protesters back further from the White House. Behind the line of police officers also stand a line of National Guard troops that President Donald Trump has demanded stand watch in the city.

Lights that normally shine on the White House have also been turned off, reporters revealed.

https://twitter.com/markknoller/status/1267291138655956992

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