Landau and his young associate, Jason Savedoff, who pled guilty to identical charges last year and whose sentencing has been deferred indefinitely, were apprehended last year after eagle-eyed staffers at the Maryland Historical Society realized that the two men were acting suspiciously and called the Baltimore police, who found numerous purloined documents in Savedoff's possession. A subsequent search of Landau's Manhattan apartment brought to light more than 10,000 documents, some of which were clearly stolen and most of which were likely obtained illicitly.
The terms of the plea deal were submitted to the U.S. District Court last month, and the public portion of the agreement is now accessible via Public Electronic Access to Electronic Court Records (PACER). I've uploaded a copy of the public section of the agreement (a supplemental document remains sealed) and have embedded it below. It sheds some additional light into the manner in which Landau and Savedoff identified materials they wished to steal, provides information about Landau's likely sentence, and discusses the fate of the materials found in Landau's apartment.
Barry H. Landau Plea Agreement 2012-01-12
A small part of me wishes that Landau had insisted on a jury trial. I was kind of looking forward to reading (and posting) trial transcripts; they promised to be a rich source of information for archivists seeking to foil future Landaus and Savedoffs. However, I realize that this wish is, in many respects, a selfish one. The broad outlines of Landau and Savedoff's methods and techniques have been known for some time, and the transcripts most likely would have been full of details that were interesting or even titillating but not particularly helpful to anyone seeking to avert future thefts. Moreover, a trial would place a real burden on people who are already shouldering heavy loads. I'm glad that my colleagues at the Maryland Historical Society won't have to go through the time-consuming and stressful experience of testifying in court and that my colleagues in the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration's Office of the Inspector General will be able to focus on identifying the rightful owners of the materials found in Landau's apartment, not on preparing evidence for trial.
As far as Barry Landau himself is concerned, in an odd sort of way he's gotten the fame and public attention that he seems to have sought all throughout his adult life: his name and face have been seared into the memories of an entire cohort of archivists, manuscript librarians, history curators, honest researchers, and other defenders of cultural heritage. Once the prison doors clang shut behind him, he'll have a lot of time to contemplate the ironies of his situation and the results of his life's work.