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Self-style “presidential historian” indicted

A federal grand jury in Baltimore on Thursday indicted two New York men, one of whom touted himself as an expert on presidential history, on charges they conspired to steal valuable historic documents from museums in Maryland and New York, Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said.

Barry H. Landau, 63, and James J. Savedoff, 24, “conspired to fraudulently obtain valuable documents and manuscripts from museums and other repositories, then sell the documents for their financial gain,” according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office. The indictment alleges that Landau and Savedoff collaborated on the conspiracy from December 2010 through July 2011.

According to the indictment, on Dec. 2, 2010, Landau and Savedoff stole copies of seven speeches that had been delivered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The two allegedly stole the documents from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, and Landau later sold four of the speeches for $35,000, prosecutors allege.

Landau has proclaimed himself “America’s Presidential Historian” and has appeared on TV shows talking about presidential matters.

Landau and Savedoff were scheduled to have an initial appearance in federal court in Baltimore on Friday. Both face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for the theft of the documents and five years in prison for conspiracy.

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