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Judge tosses some claims in Earhart wreckage case

Sep 26, 2013 - The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- It's been more than 75 years since aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra vanished somewhere over the South Pacific yet the mystery of her disappearance made waves Wednesday halfway around the world in a Wyoming court.

A federal judge in Casper dismissed racketeering and negligence allegations on Wednesday in a lawsuit claiming an aircraft preservation group had found the wreckage of the plane but did not disclose it so it could raise more money for searches.

The judge did, however, leave fraud and misrepresentation claims intact and that portion of the legal action will proceed.

The lawsuit filed by Timothy Mellon, son of the late philanthropist Paul Mellon, claims the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery of Delaware and its executive director, Richard E. Gillespie, accepted money from Mellon to search for the plane after discovering the wreckage in 2010.

The defendants deny finding the wreckage in the waters around the Kiribati atoll of Nikumaroro, about 1,800 miles south of Hawaii.

Mellon, a resident of Riverside says he gave the group more than $1 million last year to help fund a search in the area.

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