May 26, 2005
Statement by Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein on the Sentencing of Howard Harner
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today in the Federal District Court, Judge James Robertson sentenced Howard Harner to two years in prison, two years probation, and a $10,000 fine. On March 7, 2005, Mr. Harner pleaded guilty to stealing more than 100 Civil War-era documents from the National Archives Building in Washington, DC over a six-year period from 1996- 2002. This sentence sends a very clear signal that theft of cultural property belonging to the American people will not be tolerated. We are very grateful that the Judge recognized the seriousness of the crime.
"While 42 of the documents stolen by Mr. Harner were recovered, the National Archives Inspector General and General Counsel will continue their search for the remaining 61. We ask manuscript dealers and collectors to cooperate with us so that all of the historical materials belonging to the National Archives are eventually returned.
"Thousands of researchers each year have access to our priceless documentary heritage, using original records at National Archives facilities across the nation. This allows American citizens to see for themselves the workings of the Federal government and the accountability of Federal officials. Mr. Harner abused that trust and has paid the price for that abuse."
Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States
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