Page 7 of 7

Kingman's trial has been repeatedly pushed further and further into the future as lawyers for both sides wade through their discovery process. Meanwhile, he harbors a long list of questions about his case. He wonders why Sonny Harris and the art brokers Jerre Lynn Wick and Michael Burns didn't conspire as much as he did; he claims that Burns, after all, set up the meeting with the undercover appraiser. He wonders if the FBI followed up on the Mauriellos' claims to have access to other stolen art, why possession of an artwork someone else stole--and a phony artwork, at that--seems more important than the theft itself. And why the justice system turns a blind eye to those questions while rolling mindlessly down on him like an infernal machine, without regard to his intent in the whole transaction. The answer, he thinks, is that someone has to go to jail to justify the considerable lengths that the FBI traveled to catch him.

Joaqun Alvarez, the owner of the painting, ponders the irony of Kingman's condition. "I feel sorry for the poor baseball player," he says, "and I certainly don't think that's where the investigation should go." He has even offered to fly to Phoenix from Spain to testify in Kingman's trial.

Alvarez now wants the painting back, even though it is a fake, and even though he told police nine years ago that he didn't want the matter pursued. This renewed interest on his part has fueled breathless new speculation that the painting being held as evidence in the FBI vault is real and that the viscount has been keeping a poker face all these years. Alvarez now claims that investigators X-rayed the artwork and found another painting beneath the faux Picasso, bringing whole new levels of mystery to the affair. Kingman has joked that he wouldn't mind having the painting in his own living room as a conversation piece. It could also serve as a caution against embarking on any other hare-brained schemes. "I've picked out an epitaph for my tombstone: 'The truth is overrated,'" he says. "I don't know if it's from losing 20 games or from being a professional athlete, but I don't really give a fuck, because appearances are so full of shit, anyway.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Kiefer