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Assistant Pleads Guilty In Historic Document Theft

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Guilty. That was the plea Thursday from one of two men accused of stealing priceless historical documents from the Maryland Historical Society.

Monique Griego was in court as Jason Savedoff admitted to it all in the scandal that made international headlines.

Moments after pleading guilty to conspiracy and theft, 24-year-old Jason Savedoff walked out of federal court.

Reporter: “Do you feel relief today with the guilty plea?”
Savedoff’s Attorney: “We’re not going to say anything today.”

Savedoff admitted he conspired with Barry Landau to steal hundreds of historical documents from museums throughout the Mid-Atlantic.

Dozens were swiped from the Maryland Historical Society, including a document signed by President Abraham Lincoln worth $300,000.

The duo was arrested in July.

Thursday, while Savedoff wasn’t talking about his guilty plea, Landau’s attorney was.

“It breaks his heart,” Steve Silverman said.

Silverman said Landau is upset because his supposed friend is pinning the entire scheme on him, but he claims that the evidence says otherwise.

“All of the documents recovered were under the custody and control of Jason Savedoff,” Silverman said.

This case in another example of why museums are constantly updating and changing their security,” said Paul Brachfeld, National Archives Administration

Paul Brachfeld from the National Archives and Records Administration says thefts are thoroughly investigated.

“But unless you do full body searches and are really invasive there are going to be people that will beat you,” Brachfeld said.

Landau, who was released on bail in August, has largely been portrayed as the mastermind of the heists, something his lawyer denies.

“I think there’s a very reasonable argument that Mr. Savedoff manipulated Mr. Landau, and we’ll save the rest for trial,” Silverman said.

Savedoff and Landau both face 15 years in prison. Savedoff, who has no prior criminal record, is scheduled to be sentenced in February. Until then, he remains under court supervision.

Landau is under court ordered electronic monitoring. A trial date has not been set.

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