Bail Set For Historian Charged With Theft In Md.

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savedoff, landau, theft, Maryland Historical Societry
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Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Accused of stealing historic documents, two suspects who had been denied bail are now eligible for release provided they come up with the money.

As Alex DeMetrick reports, it’s a lot of money.

Baltimore’s Central Booking is not the world Barry Landau, 63, is used to moving in.  A presidential historian and collector, Landau has made a career studying residents of the White House, not the big house.  That was before Landau was ordered to be held without bail, after he and his 24-year-old assistant, Jason Savedoff, were accused of stealing documents from the Maryland Historical Society.

Tuesday, Landau’s lawyer argued for bail and got it.

“Mr. Landau has been granted a $500,000 bail, with a condition he surrender his passport and report to pre-trial services here in Baltimore once a week,” said his lawyer Steve Silverman.

Jason Savedoff’s bail was even higher, at $750,000.  Police say he controlled the museum locker the documents were found in after Landau allegedly checked them out.  The documents were valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, but historical documents have value beyond money.  When the Historical Society’s exhibit on the Civil War in Maryland opened in April, it took documents to bring the past alive.

“You can still read quotes from letters and diaries and newspaper articles and still get chills and be touched by how ghastly this time in our history really was,” said Chief Curator Alexandra Deutsch said.

But it’s Landau’s future his lawyer is worried about.

“Even though he has no prior criminal record and no failures to appear, he is a New York resident and the judge found that somewhat concerning.  That is why there is what I consider a ridiculously high bail in this case,” Silverman said.

But if raised, it’s still better than jail.

Landau’s lawyer hoped to arrange bail for his client Tuesday but calls to verify Landau’s status have not been returned.

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