Legal filings continue in Langboard case

Government responds to motion made by family
Published : 08/18/11
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Although a 10-member federal jury decided on July 20 that the government, not the Langbord family, owns the 10 1933 Saint-Gaudens double eagles that were allegedly discovered by Joan Langbord in a family safe deposit box in 2003, legal filings continue.

On Aug. 3, the government filed a response to a motion that the Langbords made during the trial for judgment as a matter of law.

On the penultimate day of the trial, July 19, the Langbords made a motion for a directed verdict contending that the government had failed as a matter of law to present evidence on its claim to forfeit the 10 double eagles. A party may move for judgment as a matter of law any time before a case is submitted to the jury, although directed verdicts are used by the courts sparingly.

The Langbords attempted to show that there was no question of material fact for the jury; that there was insufficient evidence from which a jury could reasonably find that the coins were forfeitable.

The written motion was filed in Philadelphia’s Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by the Langbord family on July 20.

Langbords: evidence insufficient

The Langbords asserted in the motion that the government’s evidence was insufficient on two main issues. First, that there was not enough evidence to prove that the coins were stolen by Israel “Izzy” Switt — Joan Langbord’s father — with criminal intent, and second, that the government failed to prove that the coins were the proceeds of a crime as required by statute. Judge Davis denied the Langbords’ motion.

In its Aug. 3 response, the government restated the testimony of expert witnesses David Enders Tripp and Wayne Geisser, noting that their analysis that “showed that all of the 1933 Double Eagles were accounted for each day from the day they were struck until the day they were melted.”

The government cited the totality of the evidence provided at trial as sufficient to allow a reasonable juror to find that the coins were knowingly embezzled from the Mint. The government closed its response by stating that the reasons in the filing, along with the reasons expressed in open court, supported the court’s denial of the Langbord’s motion for judgment as a matter of law.

On July 27, Judge Legrome D. Davis ordered that the Langbord family had until Aug. 17 to file any pre-trial motions and that the government had until Sept. 9 to respond. The order also stated that any additional briefing by either side regarding a separate declaratory judgment claim must be filed by Sept. 9 and responses are to be received by the court by Sept. 30.

Judge Davis had requested before Aug. 3 that the parties propose a set of possible dates, as the court’s schedule does not permit it to conduct a trial or hearing regarding any additional evidence and oral arguments on the matter during the week of Oct. 3. ■

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