Raphael Golb gets six months in prison for impersonating Dead Sea Scrolls scholar
by Melissa Grace, from New York Daily News
A disbarred lawyer convicted of impersonating a Dead Sea Scrolls scholar and four other academics online in a campaign to discredit their work is going up the river.
A judge Thursday sentenced Raphael Golb to six months behind bars—for his stealing his victims’ e-mail identities and trashing them.
Prosecutors wanted up to four years for the campaign of harassment against NYU’s Lawrence Schiffman, who Golb accused of plagiarism and tried to get fired.
Golb apologized to Schiffman and his other victims but he and his lawyer, Ron Kuby, still think he really didn’t do anything all that bad.
“Before this case, I did not know that satirical hoaxes of the sort were treated as crimes in the United States of America,” Golb told Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Carol Berkman.
Kuby was more scathing—and vowed an appeal
“\[D.A.\] Cy Vance’s office asked for a term of up to four years in an Upstate prison for first degree blogging,” Kuby mocked.
“The court and the district attorney’s office have done their best to make sure the Internet is safe for elite scholars who wish to avoid criticism.”
Golb is the son of one of Schiffman’s rivals—Chicago scrolls scholar Norman Golb.
Schiffman and the other academics disagreed with his dad on the origins of the 2,000-year-old scrolls, which are considered the earliest form of the bible.
Golb launched his campaign in 2008 and the judge called his actions unacceptable.
“There needs to be a clear message as to the consequences to his continuing such behavior,” Berkman said.
In addition to his six months in prison, Golb will be on probation for five years and must stay away from his victims, the judge said.
Golb was convicted last month of 30 counts, including identity theft, aggravated harassment and forgery.