U.S. historian sentenced for stealing Lincoln letter
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. historian who pleaded guilty to stealing letters written by former U.S. Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Friday.
Edward Renehan, 52, pleaded guilty in May to one count of interstate transportation of stolen property and admitted stealing a March 1, 1840, letter by Lincoln and two letters dated Aug. 9, 1791, and Dec. 29, 1778, by Washington.
The letters, part of the personal collection of former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, were taken from the Theodore Roosevelt Association. Renehan had been the acting director of the New York-based historical and cultural group.
Renehan later sold the letters to a New York gallery for $97,000, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan said.
Jim Bruns, head of the Roosevelt association, attended the sentencing at Manhattan federal court. He told reporters the letters were "not significant to the shaping of America," but were treasured by Roosevelt, who displayed them in his library.
In sentencing Renehan, who faced a maximum of 10 years in prison, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin called the case "baffling."
"By all accounts, Mr. Renehan is a pre-eminent historian and biographer, and yet he engaged in this stealing," said Chin. "It's really hard to understand. I'm not sure that I've heard a convincing explanation."
Renehan, who has written six books including one on the Kennedys, said he has suffered from bipolar disorder, which at the time of the thefts, from 2005 to 2006, was undiagnosed.
"At the time that I took those letters... I was on an extended manic episode," an emotional Renehan said in his plea for leniency.
He was ordered to report to prison by Jan. 2.
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this
- Iran prosecutor gives government 30 days to block social media
- Islamic State closes in on Syrian town, refugees flood into Turkey
- New smartphone app gives sight to the blind
- Study asks whether artificial sweeteners may drive diabetes
- Exclusive - Iran seeks give and take on militants, nuclear program
World leaders gather in New York this week to tackle a host of crises: the violence Islamic State militants are wreaking in Iraq and Syria, the exponential spread of the deadly Ebola virus in Africa and deadlocked negotiations on Iran's nuclear program. Full Article
Afghan election body names ex-finance minister Ghani president-elect. Full Article