Watch CBS News

Lawyer Says Client Is Innocent Of Maryland Historical Society Theft

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—On Thursday, the FBI searched the Manhattan apartment of Barry Landau. He's one of two suspects locked up in the Baltimore City Detention Center accused of stealing important and expensive documents from the Maryland Historical Society.

 Mary Bubala spoke to his attorney, who says his client is innocent.

"This is a character assassination and he's looking forward to his day in court," said Steve Silverman, Landau's lawyer.

High-powered attorney Silverman says the FBI has no evidence against his client – 63-year-old Landau, who is known to have the largest private collection of presidential inaugural memorabilia.

Landau was arrested at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore on Saturday after staff members accused him and 24-year-old Jason Savedoff of stealing high value historical documents.

"I know no documents were recovered off my client's person, no documents were found to be concealed by my client, no documents were recovered out of his vehicle," Silverman said.

According to the police report, it was Savedoff who had the key to a locker at the Maryland Historical Society where the stolen documents that Landau had checked out were found.

But police say Savedoff and Landau were there working together.

Reports say the two are now under suspicion at the Pennsylvania Historical Society in Philadelphia, where they visited more than a dozen times.

It's unknown what the FBI found during a search of Landau's apartment in New York, but his Baltimore attorney is trying to get him home.

"Right now he's being held no bail along with double murderers and rapists," Silverman said. "He's a presidential historian. He's advised presidents and first ladies for decades on protocol."

Landau's defense team is also upset by online Twitter messages that went out from the Maryland Historical Society. A staff member tweeted a message,  alerting other historical societies on the East Coast to the arrest of Landau and posted his mug shot.

"If we held a trial today based on that police report, a judge or a jury would find him not guilty in a New York minute," Silverman said.

The Maryland Historical Society has changed its policy for viewing documents. The museum has more than 7 million in its library, including one signed by President Abraham Lincoln that Landau is accused of stealing.

A bail review hearing could be held next week in Baltimore Circuit Court.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.