Lawyer for ex-treasure hunter asks judge to end jail time

FILE -In this November 1989 file photo, Tommy Thompson holds a $50 pioneer gold piece retrieved earlier in 1989 from the wreck of the gold ship Central America. According to the US Marshals Service, Thompson, a fugitive treasure hunter wanted for more than 2 years was arrested in Florida. (AP Photo/The Columbus Dispatch, Lon Horwedel)
FILE -In this November 1989 file photo, Tommy Thompson holds a $50 pioneer gold piece retrieved earlier in 1989 from the wreck of the gold ship Central America. According to the US Marshals Service, Thompson, a fugitive treasure hunter wanted for more than 2 years was arrested in Florida. (AP Photo/The Columbus Dispatch, Lon Horwedel)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The attorney for an ex-treasure hunter jailed on contempt-of-court charges is asking a federal judge in Ohio to end his client’s imprisonment.

Judge Algenon Marbley has held defendant Tommy Thompson in contempt of court since December 2015 for violating terms of a plea deal by refusing to respond to questions about the location of 500 missing gold coins.

Attorney Todd Long said in a Wednesday court filing that federal law prohibits holding someone under such conditions for longer than 18 months.

The coins, valued at up to $4 million, were minted from gold taken from the S.S. Central America, which sank in an 1857 hurricane.

Thompson previously said, without providing details, that the coins were turned over to a trust in Belize. The government doubts Thompson’s explanation.

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