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tv   Strange Inheritance  FOX News  May 23, 2015 7:30pm-8:01pm PDT

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thank you for watching. >> send me an e-mail or go to our web sit >>ly leads most famous charge in american history. >> i am on side of pickett's charge. >> hundreds of main that made him immortal. >> a suitcase full of heirlooms left. >> a fast talking conman comes to down. >> he dressed well, he was glib of tongue. >> forcing general's heir into battle over his "strange inheritance." >> what was your reaction? >> i was pisd. >> it donned on me i was ripped off.
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>> i am jamie colby, today i am in wilmington, north carolina, known for the gorgeous beach, great surfing, it was also last confederate part city to fall during the civil war, i am here to meet an heir whose a ancestor became famous at high watermark. >> i am george pickett ir irk *. i. >> george, who goes by his name ed, has invited me to his home. >> high, ed. >> you must be jamie. >> i am. >> when 59-year-old is not work ofing as a surfing instructor oden joys doing yoga, playing guitar, a far cry from his
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famous great-great grandfather who fought in gettings gettysburg. gettysburg. >> i yo knew about it. i was not that interested as a little kid. >> some people said, didn't he lose, wasn't he a loser? that is the way a lot of history books talked about, pickett's charge. >> did you bury your head. >> i did that one time, i didn't know enough to defend him. >> someone that knows a lot about general pickett, civil iar historian earl earl coats, i mem on the battle feel. >> you are one of the icon excites of the civil war. >> what was pickett's
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contribution? >> general pickett to that time was known as a confederate commander, but after the charge he was known world over. >> pickett's under james long street in july 1 1863 in gettysburg. commanded by general robert elee. >> he was looking for a great victory on union soil. >> federal army holds high ground, lee orders a controversial attack, an assault on center of the union line, general pickett's troops are assigned to brake through the middle. >> quit right now we're on the confederate side. >> on the ground that pickett's division came across, you see how ground slopes away here, then you start off, steady slope up to where the trees are.
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union ca cannons on the ridgeli. >> they have the edge. >> and they use it. >> pickett's men advance to heavy fire, union guns now down the rebels. >> what did the scene look like after. >> this seal was -- field was littered with dead, a scene of devastation. >> earl reads first hand accounts of bloodshed. >> on be on part of the field,ed dead lay as thick as they could. men with head shots off, and men shot in two, and in to pieces. >> a turning point in the war, never would the south mount an invasion of union territory. >> what was the high watermark? >> from that point on, fortunes
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of confederacy started to wayne. >> knowing that pickett's charge as a disaster was enough for ed, while growing up in north carolina in 1960s. >> i had other interests that seemed more important to me at the time. >> he has no interest in this old suitcase of family heirlooms that his father inheret ited. when his parents divorce, he passes this case to his mother to give to ed. >> this is the actual case. >> it is. >> do you want to take a look. >> i would. >> as far as young ed could tell it contains boring old military looking knickknacks. a cap, part of a uniform, old documents, whatever. >> my mother would say, there is his legacy you have and it will be yours one day, i was like okay.
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sure. can i go out and play? >> whether he appreciates it or not, ed takes possession of suitcase in early 90s, his by family tradition as first born pickett male, after his mother moved into an assisted living facility, she warns her son to move it from the family home before someone steals it. >> i got it out of closet, i did not take time right away to to look through it i opened it, said okay, and closed it moved on. >> it was tucked, a again, at ed's house. he has no time to play curator. >> i spent time with my own children, that was more important to me than looking through stuff. >> ed may not take much interest but certainty. in the civil war collecting world do, rumor spread a metal case full of general pickett artifacts is still in the family possession in north carolina.
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in september 1995, ed gets a call from a guy names russell pritchard in philadelphia, saying he is antique appraiser looking for artifacts to buy. >> i was standoffish, i did not believe him. >> a few weeks later, a letter arrived. >> i had a letter from mayor of harrisburg. >> saying that pritchard is official representative of national civil iar museum in city of harrisburg. >> did you get a letter from mayor because you asked for credentials? >> no. >> it just arrived. >> right. >> next thing you know russ pritchard arrives uninvited in williams twilliamsen to. >> he wanting to be my newer best friend, followed me around
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like a puppy. he kept asking, can i see the artifacts. >> ed agrees to show pritchard what is in the old family suitcase, next few hours, are a revelation for ed. that old cap is called a capy, warn by general pickett at gettysburg, and his bloodstained uniform sleeve, and photos, and hand drawn map of the gettysburg battlefield. >> he was very knowledgeable. >> tell me about the reaction on russ pritchard's face. >> he was delighted. like high found a goal mine, he said, i'm prepareed on behalf of the mayor to make you an offer. >> who did you feel he represented? your interest or the museum? >> as i understood it he was an appraiser standing in the
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middle. that is what he said, he could not over estimate or underestimate the value of it. >> russ comes up with an offer to buy most of the contents of the case, $87,500, now ed thinks he struck gold. >> i thought wow, that say lot of money to me. >> it did look fair. >> it seemed fair to me, that is more money than i had ever gotten in my life. >> he accepts and a check and signs away the item, pitchard departs with the pikit artifacts, but general pickett's grand-great grandson is in for the shock of his life, he finds out what happened to his family heirloom. >> all lies, he lied to me. >> this is next. >> first our "strange inheritance" quiz question, how many generals were killed or mortally wounded at gettysburg?
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general officers. jamie: george pickett is thrilled to complete the sale. the antique appraiser and buyer russ pritchard. >> total amount was $87500. that seemed like a lot. jamie: items had been in family for generation, now artifacts, the cap, and sleeve, and map of the gattithe -- gettysburg battl are to be showcaseed in a civil war museum in harrisburg, pennsylvania. jamie: did you talk to at least one dealer to get a sense of what you had. >> he told me, he was working for the city, and his job was to appraise it accurate. accurate. jamie: 3 years later in 1998, ed
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accepts a invitation to speak at the gettysburg. >> i asked him, how much would that be worth. >> he stunned me, i said the general's, he said yes. woe. >> >> that that moment the room got vie libsilent, he said it coulde worse a lot of money, 250. >> thousand? >> yes. i said, that is more than i got for everything. >> ed does not want to believe he was swindled, he considers russ preufrpar pritchard a frie. you trusted him so much, you let him baby sit your infant. >> correct. jamie: he discovers how much museum paid pritchard. how much? >> over $800,000.
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>> your reaction. >> i was astounded, something was wrong. jamie: another shocker. he learned that pritchard stole some items, including family photos he offered to restore for ed. >> russ pritchard said he would be glad to frame them, and send them back, no charge. jamie: no charge. >> just doing it because he was a nice guy. jamie: wondering what they could be worth, ed takes them to gettysburg antique store. the owner looks the and says. >> these are not real photographs these are laser copys, i said are, you sure. jamie: even ed can see lines from laser printer, pritchard had reframeed his photos with fakes, ed's embarrassment over a bad deal is replaced with a new emotion, anger. jamie: your reaction? >> i was pissed.
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it dawned on me, i was really ripped off. >> ed decides it is time to take the fight totten me, that is next on "strange inheritance." >> a quiz question, 3903 confederate soldiers were killed in gettysburg? how many are b i am totally blind. i lost my sight in afghanistan, but it doesn't hold me back. i go through periods where it's hard to sleep at night, and stay awake during the day. non-24 is a circadian rhythm disorder that affects up to 70% of people who are totally blind. talk to your doctor about your symptoms and learn more by calling 844-844-2424. or visit my24info.com. ♪ ♪
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>> how many confederate soldiers are buried in the national systemtary at gettysburg? b, 7, all solderns were originally buried on
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battlefield. all confederates killed in action were reburied in the south. 7 remained by mista. all confederates were later reburied in the south. those seven remain bid mistake. >> in the fall of 1998, ed picket is stunned to learn the civil war artifacts he sold to appraiser russ pritchard for $87,000 are later resold for $880,000. >> i was pissed, because it's not really just me that had been ripped off, but my children. so that's when i got a lawyer. >> the family heirlooms belonged to his great great grandfather, george e. picket, whose name is synonymous with the failed rib el charge at gettysburg. in 1998, he heads into battle
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himself, this time in the courtroom. a jury awards him $800,000, the difference between what the museum paid the con man and the con man paid him.tc ed is thrilled at first. >> i received a jury verdict against russ pritchard for $800,000.oo of which my attorney took his portion of the cash. >> how much?ja >> close to $100,000. d >> but the law's not done with russ pritchard yet. p fbi agent robert whitman is paying very close attention. >> he's very smooth. he dresses well. >> it turns out pritchard and his partners had been running the same scam on others who had civil war artifacts. >> they were appraising it for
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1/10th the value. in the end, there was a superseding criminal indictment that had more than 20 counts inc it. >> faced with the mountain of evidence against him, pritchard strikes a deal inh 2001 with prosecutors andnd pleads guilty. he's sentenced to a year in prison and $830,000 restitution pay. but -- >> russ pritchard doesn't seem to have the money. i've received a total of maybe r $25,000. >> look in the camera and tell russ pritchard what you want him to do? >> i would like him to pay the restitution. but moreover, i would like the national civil war museum return my items to me. >> so what about that? ed picket's charge against the museum, next.ta ickly become theg you think about.
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>>
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now, back to "strange inheritance." >> in 2001, ed pickett wins a second legal battle over his civil war artifacts. past down from his great great grandfather, confederate general george pickett. ed feels it's a hollow victory, as those artifacts go on display in harrisburg, pennsylvania, whose mayor wrote pickett endorsing the con man who had swindled him. >> what's most unfortunate is harrisburg is willing to take items taken by fraud and keep them. >> fbi agent robert whitman investigated the case. >> ultimately the museum paid $880,000 for these artifacts, so they paid what they're supposed to. >> i think a better result would have been the city and the national civil war museum to
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say, i'm so sorry. let me give you your items back, and we are going to sue russ pritchard for defrauding us. >> current museum ceo wayne motts, who took over in 2012, believes the pickett items are best suited at their current home. >> i think it was regretful and unfortunate what happened to mr. pickett, but the pickett collection has been well taken care of here. it has been preserved, and it has been exhibited for the joy of thousands of people. >> civil war historian earl reflects history's verdict on his leadership and courage that july day in gettysburg. was pickett thinking along the way, what have i just done? >> well, he was probably thinking what have i been asked to do? but they were told to go and
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they went. >> pickett and his men failed. so did their cause. but it's a tribute to their valor that vets from the north and south would return to this spot to do their part to bind up a nation's wounds. so should ed take comfort knowing that general pickett was a soldier through and through and did as he was told? >> absolutely. he cost him hundreds of men, but it made him immortal. >> wow! that's cool. >> that's some interesting stuff in here. >> it made ed pickett better appreciate the heirlooms that remain in that old suitcase. >> this is a copy of general pickett's report of the battle of williamsburg, may 1862. >> look at the hand writing. >> it's a last art, i think. >> fabulous. what else? >> that's george pickett's hair. >> would you ever sell this? >> this right here, no, not
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anymore. >> this is quite a section of your family history. what are you going to do with it now? >> i'll probably give it to my children. we don't really get to choose our names when we're born, and we have to do whatever we can to live up to it. i've to some extent ducked that legacy. but also honored it in the same way. >> ed is not done fighting the battle over his strange inheritance. for one thing, he thinks there should be a statue right here at gettysburg honoring his great great grandfather and his men. in other ways, george edward pickett iv feels it's time to move on. when his own son was born, he and his wife chose the name perhaps some names just need to rest in peace. i'm jamie colby for "strange
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inheritance." thanks for watching and remember, you can't take it with you. do you have a strange inheritance story you would like to share with you? we would love to hear it. send me an e-mail or go to our website, strangeinheritance.com. live from america's news headquarters, i'm jackie ibanez. protesters taking to cleveland streets after a white police officer was acquitted of any wrong doing in the shooting deaths of black suspects in 201. he fired at least 49 shots, including 15 while standing on the hood of the suspect's vehicle. that happened at the end of a 22-mile chase that started during an attempt ed stop. the judge said he couldn't detein

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