(FreedomBeacon.com)- The FBI may not have discovered any Civil War-era gold at a remote Pennsylvania woods location, but it has documents of the agency’s 2018 excavation, which it will soon have to hand over to a father-son treasure hunting team.
A federal court ruled Monday in favor of Finders Keepers, the treasure hunting firm that led FBI officials to the secluded site, ordering the FBI to divulge data concerning the search for the famous gold. The organization claims that the Justice Department is dragging its feet in responding to its request for information.
U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta ordered the FBI to turn over 1,000 pages of information every month beginning in 30 days, with the first batch of records including a critical report sought by Finders Keepers. The decision came four months after Finders Keepers filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department for failing to release data related to the FBI’s search. The FBI has long claimed that their 2018 search turned up nothing, but Finders Keepers claims that the government has acted suspiciously throughout the investigation.
Dennis and Kem Parada, the proprietors of Finders Keepers, spent years searching for the famous 1863 cargo of Union gold that was allegedly lost or stolen on its route to the United States Mint in Philadelphia. The team led the FBI to a rural place 135 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, where their devices indicated a massive lump of metal. An FBI-approved contractor, Enviroscan, was brought in, and their equipment detected a possible 9-ton metallic mass that could be gold, according to an affidavit.
At first, the FBI claimed they had no documentation of the project. But the FBI then claimed its documents were exempt from public disclosure when the Justice Department authorized a complete investigation. Finally, the FBI announced that it had uncovered data that it might give to Finders Keepers, but the process would take years.
In the first batch of documents, Judge Mehta ordered the government to include Enviroscan’s report to the FBI and FBI images taken at the scene. The court, however, refused to order the Justice Department to explain the difference in the number of video recordings it claims to have from the excavation.
In a court filing last month, Finders Keepers said that the FBI first stated their archives comprised seventeen video files. The government now maintains that just four videos exist. The treasure hunters argued that federal officials had not explained the disparity. But the judge informed them the Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] only requires the production of documents, not answers to questions.