The Freedman Court Trial

By Abby McAdams

Ann Freedman, an art saleswoman, was accused of knowingly selling a fake painting to Dominico de Sole. The trial commenced with de Sole’s testimony against Freedman. De Sole had received a referral to Freedman from a fellow dealer in Arizona. He claimed he bought a painting from Freedman in 2005, then in 2011, his wife found evidence that the painting was a fake. He argued in court that Freedman had cheated him into buying an “authentic painting”. The next witness was then brought forth – David Anfam. Anfam is an art curator and historian who claimed his name was falsely credited to have authenticated Freedman’s works. He revealed that he did send a letter of recommendation supporting Freedman, but never directly stated that he authenticated her.

Finally, the last witness of testimony was called to the stand – Jamie Martin. Martin is an expert witness and forensic analyzer for art. He was asked by de Sole to authenticate his painting after his wife suspected it was fake, and Martin discovered it, in fact, was. Martin analyzed the pigments used in the painting and determined that it couldn’t be authentic. After the accusers took a seat, Ann Freedman claimed her innocence to the court. She admitted she sold the painting to Dominico but didn’t know they were fake. She then went on to claim she did not take Anfam’s quote out of context. The next witnesses were Stephen Polcari and Laili Nasv. Polcari claimed that the International Foundation for Art Research used his opinion to determine the authenticity of Freedman’s paintings. Nasr, manager for the National Gallery of Art, had her opinion used without permission by Freedman.

The conclusion of the trial ended with Freedman’s conviction. Freedman was proven fraudulent by the accusers to have knowingly sold fake art to Dominico, as in her defense speech, she was factually inconsistent. The closing statement of the accusers stated “she took opinions and made them expert authentication out of context”, and accused her of committing mail fraud.