Getty Museum Curator Stands Trial for Art Trafficking
Popham, Peter, The Independent (London, England)
Marion True, the former curator of antiquities in California's Getty Museum, reputed to be the richest museum in the world, has appeared in court in Rome on charges of conspiring to traffic in looted art.
Dr True, 57, is accused of illegally obtaining 42 fabulously valuable antiquities for the museum during the Eighties and Nineties and risks being sent to jail for eight years if found guilty. She resigned from her post in October.
The trial has thrown a spotlight on the swashbuckling way some of the most famous museums in the United States have built up their collections.
Paolo Ferri, the prosecutor, claims Ms True spent millions of dollars of the Getty's money to buy ancient objects which she knew to have been stolen from sites in Italy. The Italian responsible for bringing many of these treasures to the market was Giacomo Medici, who was convicted of looting and sentenced to 10 years' jail last year. He is appealing against the verdict.
According to Mr Ferri, Medici's name was kept out of all the correspondence between Dr True and her favoured agents in Italy, who included a Paris- based American, Robert E Hecht Jnr, 86, who is on trial with her in Rome. But in letters sent to Dr True by her agents, the location of the objects when they were taken from the ancient sites is described in such detail that it could only have come from the tomb robbers who stole them, Mr Ferri claims.
Dr True followed in the freebooting footsteps of the founder of the California-based museum, the oil tycoon John Paul Getty. …