Published: October 14, 2003
– Wayne Pratt, one of the nation’s leading antiques dealers, who was caught up in the events surrounding ownership of an original copy of the Bill of Rights, has been cleared of any charges of wrong-doing by the US Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Robert J. Higdon, Jr, assistant US attorney and chief of the District’s Criminal Division, said that the evidence made available to him as a result of Mr Pratt’s cooperation with the US Attorney’s office indicated that Mr Pratt should not be a target of any investigation.
The Bill of Rights copy, one of 14 commissioned by George Washington in 1789, was taken from North Carolina at the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865. Recently, it came into Mr Pratt’s possession, and has been returned to North Carolina.
Mr Pratt, of Woodbury, Conn., issued the following statement:
“I am satisfied and relieved with the outcome of this matter. It was my goal from the beginning to have this critical piece of America’s heritage go to a public institution. As it has recently been determined that this particular document was the one that was originally sent to North Carolina, the transfer of the document to this state is all the more appropriate. I am both relieved and thankful to the US Attorney for his professionalism and that of his office.”
Mr Pratt’s attorney, Thomas E. Dwyer, Jr, issued the following statement:
“We are delighted with this outcome, which flows from the seamless cooperation between my client and the US Attorney’s office. I have felt all along that when the US Attorney had all the facts he would exonerate Mr Pratt. I wish to thank US Attorney Frank D. Whitney for the professionalism he and his entire office have demonstrated in this matter.”
Wayne E. Pratt, president and sole owner of Wayne Pratt, Inc, is a leading expert in American furniture and decorative arts.
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