Published: Jan 05, 2011 10:43 PM EST
Updated: Jan 05, 2011 7:44 PM EST

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Florida deep-sea explorers are using WikiLeaks documents to try to force the U.S. government out of its ongoing legal battle with Spain over a valuable shipwreck treasure.

 Odyssey Marine Exploration says documents made public by the website last month show that the U.S. State Department offered to help Spain in exchange for assistance in getting a multimillion-dollar painting confiscated by the Nazis during World War II returned to a U.S. citizen.

Tampa-based Odyssey said Wednesday that it filed a motion asking a judge to throw out a "friend of the court" brief by the U.S. government supporting Spain's quest for the 17 tons of coins raised from a sunken Spanish galleon in 2007.

The court ruled in Spain's favor in 2009, but Odyssey has appealed.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)