[SPORK] Missing Bill OF Rights Found

Tom tomwhore@slack.net
Wed, 19 Mar 2003 21:58:29 -0500 (EST)


Well this explains everything. Now that its found, can we have our country
back?

The downside to this story, the Bill Of Rights is now in control of the
FBI. Of well, back to pits of the dark ages.

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Posted on Wed, Mar. 19, 2003
Missing original copy of Bill of Rights found in Philadelphia
By Joseph A. Slobodzian
Knight Ridder

PHILADELPHIA - An original, handwritten copy of the Bill of Rights --
missing since a Union soldier stole it from the North Carolina capitol
during the waning days of the Civil War -- was recovered Wednesday in an
FBI sting in Philadelphia.

The faded document -- fading sepia-colored ink on a poster-board sized
piece of parchment -- was displayed publicly for the first time in 138
years at noon EST Wednesday at a news conference at FBI headquarters in
Philadelphia by still-awed federal law enforcement officials, Pennsylvania
Gov. Ed Rendell and officials of the National Constitution Center in
Philadelphia.

``This is an historic moment,'' said Rendell, who had been involved in
preliminary overtures late last year to buy the document from its unnamed
owner for the new National Constitution Center, talks that ultimately
developed into the undercover operation that resulted in the document's
recovery.

Rendell said the recovery of the ``important national and international
document'' has encouraged him and constitution center officials to
continue the search for Pennsylvania's copy of the Bill of Rights, which
has been missing since the 18th Century.

Joseph Torsella, president of the National Constitution Center, said
Congress in 1789 had three scribes write 14 copies of the Bill of Rights
-- actually the first 12 amendments to the Constitution, only 10 of which
were ratified at that time -- and sent one to each of the 13 states for
ratification and one to the federal archives.

Five of those original handwritten copies, including North Carolina's,
have long been missing.

Jeffrey A. Lampinski, the head of the FBI's Philadelphia Division, said
authorities are still investigating the 138-year odyssey of the North
Carolina document and that no arrests have been made.

The document was recovered from an unidentified broker and a courier, who
brought the document to the Philadelphia offices of Stephen J. Harmelin,
managing partner of the Dilworth Paxon law firm. Harmelin, who represents
the National Constitution Center, had brought together the broker and an
undercover FBI agent posing as a philanthropist who wanted to buy the
document and donate it to the center.

The meeting was for the purposes of authentication, said Lampinski.
Lampinski said the unnamed owner wanted to sell the document for $4
million -- about a tenth of its estimated value.

``The reality is that this is priceless,'' Lampinski added.

U.S. Attorney Patrick L. Meehan said the document will be the subject of a
hearing in federal court in North Carolina and ultimately returned to the
state.