DR. GOLB FOUND GUILTY! – New York Criminal Court Finds Golb Guilty of Multiple Counts of Identity Theft, Forgery, Criminal Impersonation, Aggravated Harassment


“This refers to the Spouter of Lies (מטיף הכזב), who deceived many…

1QpHab 10:9
(Pesher Habakkuk is a Dead Sea Scroll from Qumran Cave 1)


 

Dr. Raphael Golb, son of University of Chicago Oriental Institute historian Dr. Norman Golb, was found guilty on 51 felony and misdemeanor counts of identity theft, forgery, criminal impersonation, aggravated harassment, and the unauthorized use of a computer in the Criminal Division of the New York Supreme Court, September 30, 2010.

Dr. Raphael Golb, son of University of Chicago Oriental Institute historian Dr. Norman Golb, was found guilty on 30 felony and misdemeanor counts of identity theft, forgery, criminal impersonation, aggravated harassment, and the unauthorized use of a computer in the Criminal Division of the New York Supreme Court, September 30, 2010.

The Criminal Division of the New York Supreme Court has found Dr. Raphael Golb, son of University of Chicago Oriental Institute historian Dr. Norman Golb, GUILTY of multiple felony and misdemeanor counts of identity theft, criminal impersonation, forgery, aggravated harassment, and the unauthorized use of a computer. The charges stem from a bizarre case where Dr. Golb used an army of internet aliases to falsely charge his father’s perceived rival, NYU Judaic Studies professor Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, with plagiarism, and then criminally impersonated Dr. Schiffman by opening an email account in Schiffman’s name, emailing Schiffman’s students and colleagues, and admitting to the “plagiarism” on Schiffman’s behalf. Dr. Golb was also charged with criminally impersonating and/or assuming the identity of Dr. Frank Moore Cross, Dr. Jonathan Seidel, Dr. Jeffrey Gibson, Dr. Stephen Goranson; the aggravated harassment of Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, Dr. Stephen Goranson, and Dr. Robert Cargill; and of the unauthorized use of a NYU computer.

The 12-person jury of Dr. Golb’s peers wasted little time in finding him guilty on multiple counts.

So much for the “it may not be very nice, but it’s not illegal” defense. It’s illegal too!

Dr. Golb admitted under cross-examination that he lied to police during his initial arrest interview, and that he had indeed created all of the emails he sent to NYU and UCLA faculty and administrators.

Dr. Golb’s defense attorneys, Ron Kuby (who is notable enough to have a Wikipedia page ;-) and David Breitbart, attempted to argue that Dr. Golb’s criminal impersonation, identity theft, and forgery were protected under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment right to free speech. The jury apparently was not impressed with the defense’s attempt to use protected speech afforded it by the criminal justice process (witnesses cannot sue the defense for libelous, defamatory, and/or false claims made during the trial) to attack Dr. Golb’s victims further. Despite attempting to turn the trial into a referendum on Dr. Golb’s views about the Dead Sea Scrolls, attempting to put Dr. Schiffman on trial for plagiarism he did not commit, or using a parody/satire/I was just kidding/it was all a joke defense, the jury saw through defense tactics and found Dr. Golb guilty.

The convicted felon Golb will be sentenced November 18. Prior to the trial, the defendant turned down a plea agreement where he would have pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges, paid a fine, and would be placed on probation for two years. Golb rejected the deal because probation would have prevented him from using aliases to battleblog against others online. Perhaps this explains defense attorney David Breitbart’s comment:

“He had to go to trial in this case in order to accomplish his goal.”

This sentiment betrays Dr. Golb’s entire motive both for his smear campaign and for not settling the case: he knew he was guilty, he knew what he was doing was wrong, he knew he was going down, so he tried to take Dr. Schiffman with him. He tried to put Dr. Schiffman on trial for something he didn’t do.

It is worth noting that the father of the convicted felon, Dr. Norman Golb, has been shown in publicly available court documents (here and here) to not only have known about his son’s smear campaign, but to have actively participated in some of the activities that led to his son’s arrest and conviction. Yet, Dr. Norman Golb did not testify in his son’s defense; he did not even attend the trial.

Perhaps the Dead Sea Scrolls really are cursed…

A few questions remain:

  • Will Dr. Golb appeal the decision?
  • Will Dr. Golb be automatically disbarred from the New York State Bar, or will there be disbarment proceedings?
  • Will the University of Chicago formally apologize to the victims of crimes committed by relatives and employees of the Oriental Institute now that the court has shown that a University employee (Dr. Norman Golb) had full knowledge of and participated in some of these criminal activities?

As for my role in this case, I shall continue to monitor the situation and shine a light on all those who attempt to use devious means to harm good scholars. I shall continue to update this case at who-is-charles-gadda.com.


“For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel,
and before the sun.”

2 Samuel 12:12

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20 Responses

  1. brilliant. the only proper verdict.

  2. 1. yes, as long as he can.
    2 I am unsure about this, but I think they will proceed at least, once notified.
    3 no

  3. FYI, you’ve got an Andrew Breitbart where you mean David.

    Andrew’s the wingnut tabloid blogger.

  4. thanx. corrected.

  5. A good sum up. I am glad you took the time to demonstrate why this is important to the field. Good show!

    I thought this line from the AP article was interesting.

    During testimony, jurors got a history lesson on the ancient texts believed to be 2,000 years old. The scrolls, found by a Bedouin shepherd searching for a lost goat in Israel in the 1940s, include the earliest known versions of portions of the Hebrew Bible. Access to the scrolls was tightly controlled by a group known as the monopoly. Jewish scholars — including Norman Golb — were not allowed to evaluate them.

    And Larry Schffman is not Jewish?

  6. john,

    to my knowledge, dr. schiffman is jewish.
    i believe the statement refers to the early dss team, which some claim did not have any jewish scholars on it. of course, it depends on how narrowly one draws the line (which i guess excludes sukenik, yadin, and others).

    bc

  7. doug,

    re: 1 – he’s already said he looks forward to the appeal.
    re: 2 – agreed.
    re: 3 – i’m thinking charge 48 in particular. i’m not sure i agree with you. the uofc may very well say, ‘sorry. we’ll look into this.’ i mean, they’ve already removed material dr. golb posted about me once before…

  8. Hi Folks,

    In New York we know Ron Kuby as a media-happy limelight lawyer, riding his leftie background from the days with William Kunstler. Why he did not strongly advise Rafael Golb to take the plea bargain is the real travesty in this case. (Which plea bargain .. whether misdemeanor or felony with probation .. should have required the public apology to Schiffman and the scholastic community, the report did not make that clear if it was part of the offer.) Kuby may have worked Golb with visions of Peter Zenger and Emile Zola.

    Overall, I really think it is dumb that this reached the point of an actual felony prosecution, since, as you point out, in the scholastic community you had unraveled the whole thing rather quickly.

    My theory is that this is the “1,000,000 lawyers” syndrome of Tom Paxton.

    Shalom,
    Steven Avery
    Queens, NY

    PS.
    Everybody blusters about the appeal, until the lawyer tells them about the coming extra 6-figure bill. The “threat” of an appeal can be used to try to get leverage to agree on probation or at most a minimum jail time (again, an apology could be required at sentencing). When a result was as decisive as this, folks are hesitant to appeal.

    Personally I think that the counts of “identity theft” was not really a good use of our legal system, and “forgery” was boderline. Harassment is always tricky to define legally but understandable in this case do to the conspiratorial nature of the acts and the intent to harm Profesor Schiffman’s reputation. Criminal impersonation was the most sensible. Legally, I think “identity theft” statue was designed for something totally different, and hopefully was original meant as a “throw-away” charge, its being used here is an example of good cases making bad law.

    Shalom,
    Steven Avery
    Queens, NY

  9. [...] those of his father, Norman Golb. Archaeologist Robert Cargill, who was one of those targeted, has the details: The charges stem from a bizarre case where Dr. Golb used an army of internet aliases to falsely [...]

  10. [...] Raphael Golb has been convicted by a jury of 30 of 31 counts against him. On the stand, he admitted to using various pseudonyms, including, [...]

  11. Hi Folks,

    I missed something. You say that Norman Golb engaged in criminal activity – apparently based on your making him into an unindicted co-conspirator to a felony on appeal as you understand the history – not as the legal system has functioned and accused.. Legally nothing like that is at all clear.

    Personally, I only consider the Schiffman action as worthy of legal (felony) consideration .. the 51 counts was simply because the law does not know the internet. Robert, you say specifically that everybody knew the source of the posts, any moderator can put new posts in a queue and make a savvy decision.

    As to the Professor Schiffman letter, which apparently everybody knew the source of as well, if Norman Golb did not encourage that idea, it is hard to pin him on it.

    What you are apparently saying is that UC should act on an ethical, not a legal, basis, since Norman Golb has been charged with …. nothing.

    With the stagnant nature of tenure at universities, such would probably be a reprimand.

    Simple question – apologies if I have missed this in the paperwork – did you and/or Lawrence Schiffman ever write Norman Golb a note, and/or call him up, explaining what had happened, asking to cease and requesting a public apology ?

    Shalom,
    Steven Avery

  12. steven,

    if a man robs my house, and i know who did it, am i obligated to call the robber and ask for my stuff back before calling 911?

    please do not conflate the defamation, libel, and other potential civil charges (with which raphael golb was not charged in this case) with the criminal charges of impersonation, id theft, forgery, etc., against larry schiffman and others. this criminal case was narrowly focused upon the criminal charges, not any civil charges. the defense has tried to blur this line. it is not illegal/criminal to blog online using aliases. it is criminal to impersonate people and assume their identity for the purposes of doing them harm (as the court has demonstrated).

    do not make the mistake of assuming that this case tried raphael golb for all of the alleged crimes he committed. this case only dealt with those that are remedied in criminal court. i believe the evidence has shown that there are still potential defamation, libel, and other civil crimes committed that may have been in collaboration with others. remember also that certain non-impersonation counts (like count 48) may also have civil remedies as well. we’ll see. i believe the evidence shows that others may have participated…

  13. the manhattan da has released their official press release:

    http://www.manhattanda.org/whatsnew/press/2010-09-30c.shtml

  14. [...] was interviewed for the UCLA News Week recently and asked to comment on the sentencing of Raphael Golb, which will take place Thursday, November 18, 2010. On September 30, 2010, the Criminal Division of [...]

  15. [...] to harm, intimidate, threaten, and defraud others, not unlike the seemingly never-ending saga of Dr. Golb and the Dead Sea Scrolls that played out in New York last [...]

  16. [...] to harm, intimidate, threaten, and defraud others, not unlike the seemingly never-ending saga of Dr. Golb and the Dead Sea Scrolls that played out in New York last [...]

  17. [...] The following exchange is taken from p. 748 of the official court transcripts of the criminal trial of the People of New York v. Raphael Golb. [...]

  18. [...] my review of the transcripts of the case of the People of New York vs. Raphael Golb, I came across the following statement, which caused me to laugh. The blush-inducing statement was [...]

  19. [...] I was perusing Dr. Raphael Golb’s appeal of the 31 guilty verdicts against him in the case of the People of New York v. Raphael Golb (Dr. Golb was found guilty of 31 [...]

  20. [...] found Dr. Raphael Golb, son of University of Chicago Oriental Institute historian Dr. Norman Golb, guilty of 30 felony and misdemeanor counts of identity theft, criminal impersonation, forgery, aggravated [...]

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