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WikiLeaks Trove Used in Shipwreck Trove Fight

TAMPA, Fla. — Deep-sea explorers in Florida are using some of the trove of recently leased WikiLeaks documents to try to force the U.S. government out of their legal battle with Spain over a shipwreck treasure.

Odyssey Marine Exploration of Tampa says documents released by Wikileaks show the U.S. State Department had offered to help Spain's side in the matter in exchange for help in returning a multimillion-dollar painting — seized by World War II-era Nazis — to a U.S. citizen.

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Odyssey said Wednesday it filed a motion urging an appeals court to throw out a "friend of the court" brief by the U.S. government supporting Spain's bid for 17 tons of coins raised from a sunken Spanish galleon off Portugal in 2007.

A federal court ruled for Spain in 2009. Odyssey is appealing.

The State Department had no immediate comment when contacted Wednesday by The Associated Press.