On March 14, Jerusalem Judge Aharon Farkash found defendants Oded Golan and Robert Deutsch not guilty of all charges of forgery. The judge stated that there is no evidence that any of the major artifacts were forged, and that the prosecution failed to prove their accusations beyond a reasonable doubt. The alleged forgeries include the famous James Ossuary, whose inscription reads “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.” The judge also found there was no clear evidence that several other ancient artifacts, including the “Three Shekels” ostracon, the “Widow’s Plea” ostracon and the Jehoash tablet, had been forged.
While all of the major charges were dismissed on grounds of lack of evidence of forgery, others were dropped due to the statute of limitations. However, Golan was found guilty of trading in antiquities without a permit and another minor charge. Deutsch was acquitted on all counts. Oded Golan will be sentenced on December 23, 2012.
Read BAR editor Hershel Shanks’s analysis of the trial here.