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If drawings of money are too real, too bad for artist

Drawings of paper money created as art become contraband when they look too much like the real thing, according to a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth said the Secret Service may keep the images its agents seized five years ago, even though the U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh later decided not to prosecute the artist, J.S.G. Boggs.The artist wanted his renditions back, arguing they were expressive materials. Lamberth rejected his request Wednesday.

"Individuals have no property right in contraband materials and contraband materials may not be returned to them," the judge said.

Boggs, who continues to produce the drawings and maintains a three-year waiting list for them, called the ruling "beyond belief." He said he would continue fighting for a jury trial.