Dead Sea Scrolls Cyber-Bully Found Guilty of Identity Theft, Harassment
By Shayna Jacobs
MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT —Cyber-bully Raphael Golb was found guilty of stealing the identities of five Dead Sea Scrolls scholars by a Manhattan jury on Thursday.
After three weeks of trial, Golb, 50, was convicted of 30 counts of identity theft, forgery, aggravated harassment and other charges.
Golb created over 70 e-mail accounts using other peoples' names, and using those names to author blog posts to try to discredit an NYU professor, Lawrence Schiffman, an academic rival of Golb's father.
His goal, Golb claimed, was to expose allegations that Schiffman had plagiarized the work of his father, Dead Sea Scrolls scholar Norman Golb. Golb also claimed that there was no criminal intent in his actions, saying the purpose of the e-mails and blog posts was to satirize the academic debate that surrounds the Dead Sea Scrolls.
In closing arguments Thursday morning, prosecutors said Golb's intentions were no excuse for his crimes.
"You don't get the right to commit crimes against people and then just call it a parody," Assistant District Attorney John Bandler said.
After the verict, Golb, who is a lawyer himself, said he was not surprised by the jury's decision and blamed the judge, saying the jurors were forced to rely on insufficient instruction about the meaning of the charges against him.
"I dont' see how they could have done anything else," Golb added.
Golb is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 18, although he expressed plans to appeal the verdict. He faces up to four years in prison on the top charge alone.
One of his lawyers, Ron Kuby, said there never should have been criminal charges brought against Golb in the first place.
"Can you make it a crime to hurt somebody's feelings on the Internet?" Kuby said.