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Florida Fossils Dealer Seeks Dinosaur’s Return

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NEW YORK (AP) – A Florida fossils dealer whose dinosaur was seized by the U.S. government so it could be given to the government of Mongolia is demanding in New York court papers it be given back to him.

Lawyers for Gainesville, Fla., resident Eric Prokopi say in court papers filed Monday he’s the victim of a media campaign stirred up by academic paleontologists.

The government seized the Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton in June. It had sued to obtain the bones, which had been sold at auction for more than $1 million.

Court papers say Prokopi and Dallas-based Heritage Auctions were in negotiations with Mongolia’s president to settle the dispute when the U.S. filed a seizure lawsuit to obtain the dinosaur.

The government has no comment. The auction house has said it wants a “fair and just resolution.”

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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