Artist Jasper Johns testifies at NY fraud trial

NEW YORK (AP) — Artist Jasper Johns says he never authorized a former foundry owner facing wire fraud charges in New York to make bronze copies of his iconic 1960 "Flag" painting.

Johns testified Thursday in federal court in Manhattan at the trial of Brian Ramnarine (RAM'-nah-reen). Johns is the star witness for prosecutors trying to prove Ramnarine tried to sell an unauthorized bronze sculpture of the painting, once photographed alongside President John F. Kennedy.

The white-haired artist says he hired Ramnarine on a number of occasions because of his "excellent" work, including making a wax mold of "Flag" in 1990. He says the mold wasn't returned to him.

Prosecutors say Ramnarine tried to sell a bronze copy of "Flag" in 2010 for $11 million.

Ramnarine has pleaded not guilty.

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