Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Wednesday, September 27, 2023 | Back issues
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LOS ANGELES (CN) - The long and winding trail of the world's biggest emerald was described in a hearing leading up to a trial among the claimants to the 840-pound rock from the northeastern province of Bahia in Brazil.

During the opening statement the Greene, Broillet & Wheeler attorney stated that Thomas's bill of sales was lost in a mysterious fire at Thomas's house in 2001. Moreover, Greene said that Thomas visited Sao Paulo, Brazil, twice to bring the emerald back to San Jose, CA but doesn't. The only paper that shows Thomas with the Bahia Emerald is a picture of him and the emerald at the Carport in 2001.

"I don't think that claim under the law is possession," Greene said. "By the way, sir, the Brazilians ... do not agree whatsoever that they sold the emerald to Mr. Thomas."

To emphasize Greene's point, Downie's lawyer from Haney, Buchanan & Patterson said, "All testify that Mr. Thomas did not buy the emerald."

Steve Haney stated that even though Thomas finds out that the Bahia Emerald was stolen, "he did virtually nothing for seven years ... and threw the hat in the ring" when the Bahia Emerald petition was filed.

"Tony Thomas is not the owner of the Bahia Emerald," Haney said.

In order to determine the legitimacy of Thomas's claim for the emerald, he was called to the stands by Morrison's other lawyer Andrew Spielberger with Spielberger & Balaban for direct examination.

Thomas alleged in his testimony that he went to Brazil twice with Conetto but did not bring it back since Conetto promised Thomas that he would ship the emerald to Thomas in San Jose, CA. However, the 840lbs Bahia Emerald never arrived at Thomas's doorsteps.

"I never saw it again," Thomas said.

"You never had possession or control of the Bahia Emerald when it was in California, correct?" Spielberger asked.

"That's correct. I didn't have physical possession," Thomas answered.

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