Psychiatrist to examine treasure hunter jailed over coins

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A psychiatrist can examine a former deep-sea treasure hunter who is jailed for refusing to answer more questions about the location of 500 missing gold coins and who was previously evaluated by a psychologist, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

Tommy Thompson has been held in contempt of court since mid-December, when Judge Algenon Marbley found he violated a plea deal by refusing to respond. Thompson also was ordered to pay $1,000 a day until he cooperates.

Thompson has said he told everything he knew during depositions last fall and argues he couldn’t provide more complete answers in part because he suffers from a neurological disorder. He also said that he could refresh his memory by reviewing documents in 75 boxes held by the U.S. Marshals Service but that he hadn’t been allowed access to that information, according to court records.

The judge ordered an evaluation by a psychologist, and Thompson’s attorney sought permission for the additional psychiatrist’s evaluation at Thompson’s expense.

Marbley granted that request and ruled Thursday that the psychiatrist can get access to sealed documents filed in the case, which includes evidence submitted about Thompson’s illness, according to court records.

A hearing on the doctors’ reports is scheduled Sept. 9.

The coins in question were minted from gold taken from the S.S. America, which sank in a hurricane off South Carolina in 1857.

Thompson previously said, without providing details, that the coins were turned over to a trust in Belize. The government, which believes the coins are worth millions of dollars, has expressed doubt about Thompson’s explanation.

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