NY Court of Appeals Upholds Raphael Golb’s Conviction on 29 of 30 Counts

Still Guilty - Raphael Golb

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. On January 29, 2013, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department upheld the convictions on 29 of 30 counts for which Golb was convicted.

Word from the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department this evening is that a three-judge panel ruled unanimously to uphold the convictions on 29 of 30 felony and misdemeanor counts for which Raphael Golb was convicted in 2010.

In November of 2010, the Criminal Division of the New York Supreme Court 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 harassment, and the unauthorized use of a computer.

Prior to the trial, Golb turned down a plea bargain agreement in which he would have pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors, paid a fine, served 80 hours of community service, and been placed on three years probation.

Instead, Golb was convicted of 2 felony counts and 28 misdemeanors, and was sentenced to six months in prison and five years of probation, in addition to incurring the cost of a jury trial defense and an appeal.

The Court of Appeals issued this decision:

People v Golb
2013 NY Slip Op 00436
Decided on January 29, 2013
Appellate Division, First Department
Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.
This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the Official Reports.

Decided on January 29, 2013
Mazzarelli, J.P., Renwick, Richter, Gische, Clark, JJ.
9101 2721/09

[*1]The People of the State of New York, Respondent,
v
Raphael Golb, Defendant-Appellant.

Ronald L. Kuby, New York, for appellant.
Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., District Attorney, New York (Vincent
Rivellese of counsel), for respondent.

Judgment, Supreme Court, New York County (Carol Berkman, J.), rendered November 18, 2010, convicting defendant, after a jury trial, of identity theft in the second degree (2 counts), criminal impersonation in the second degree (14 counts), forgery in the third degree (10 counts), aggravated harassment in the second degree (3 counts), and unauthorized use of a computer, and sentencing him to an aggregate term of six months, unanimously modified, on the law and facts, to the extent of vacating the identity theft conviction under the first count of the indictment and dismissing that count, and otherwise affirmed. The matter is remitted to Supreme Court, New York County, for further proceedings pursuant to CPL 460.50(5).

One of the two felony counts was vacated and dismissed, but the Appellate Division unanimously denied Golb’s appeal and reaffirmed the guilty verdict on the other 29 counts, including one felony.

The chart below (updated from the who-is-charles-gadda.com website) lists each charge, conviction, and appellate decision of the convicted felon Raphael Golb.

CHARGE
DATE
CHARGE
SUMMARY
VERDICT (Sept. 30, 2010)
APPEAL DECISION (Jan. 29, 2013)
1. 7/1/2008 – 12/31/2008 PL 190.79(3). Identity theft in the second degree
(E-CLASS FELONY) (1 of 2 counts)
Assumed identity of Lawrence Schiffman and committed/attempted to commit felony of Scheme to Defraud 1st Degree.
GUILTY
Vacated and Dismissed
2. 7/1/2008 – 12/31/2008 PL 190.79(3). Identity theft in the second degree
(E-CLASS FELONY) (2 of 2 counts)
Assumed identity of Lawrence Schiffman and committed/attempted to commit felony of Falsifying Business Records 1st Degree
GUILTY
UPHELD
3. 8/1/2008 – 12/31/2008 PL 240.30(l)(a) Aggravated harassment in the second degree
(1 of 3 counts)
Aggravated harassment of Dr. Lawrence Schiffman
GUILTY
UPHELD
4. 8/3/2008 PL 190.25(1) Criminal impersonation in the second degree
(1 of 14 counts)
Created larry.schiffman@gmail.com email account
GUILTY
UPHELD
5. 8/4/2008 PL 190.25(1) Criminal impersonation in the second degree
(2 of 14 counts)
Sent email from larry.schiffrnan@gmail.com to Dr. Schiffman’s students
GUILTY
UPHELD
6. 8/4/2008 PL 170.05. Forgery in the third degree
(1 of 10 counts)
Sent email from larry.schiffrnan@gmail.com to Dr. Schiffman’s students
GUILTY
UPHELD
7. 8/5/2008 PL 190.25(1) Criminal impersonation in the second degree
(3 of 14 counts)
Sent email from larry.schiffman@gmail.com to multiple NYU email addresses
GUILTY
UPHELD
8. 8/5/2008 PL 170.05. Forgery in the third degree
(2 of 10 counts)
Sent email from larry.schiffman@gmail.com to multiple NYU email addresses
GUILTY
UPHELD
9. 8/5/2008 PL 190.25(1) Criminal impersonation in the second degree
(4 of 14 counts)
Sent email from larry.schiffman@gmail.com to NYU Dean Stimpson
GUILTY
UPHELD
10. 8/5/2008 PL 170.05. Forgery in the third degree
(3 of 10 counts)
Sent email from larry.schiffman@gmail.com to NYU Dean Stimpson
GUILTY
UPHELD
11. 8/5/2008 PL 190.25(1) Criminal impersonation in the second degree
(5 of 14 counts)
Sent email from larry.schiffman@gmail.com to NYU provost
GUILTY
UPHELD
12. 8/5/2008 PL 170.05. Forgery in the third degree
(4 of 10 counts)
Sent email from larry.schiffman@gmail.com to NYU provost
GUILTY
UPHELD
13. 8/6/2008 PL 190.25(1) Criminal impersonation in the second degree
(6 of 14 counts)
Sent email from larry.schiffman@gmail.com to NYUNews.com, forwarding email from Provost office.
GUILTY
UPHELD
14. 8/6/2008 PL 170.05. Forgery in the third degree
(5 of 10 counts)
Sent email from larry.schiffman@gmail.com to NYUNews.com, forwarding email from Provost office.
GUILTY
UPHELD
15. 11/22/2008 PL 190.25(1) Criminal impersonation in the second degree
(7 of 14 counts)
Created email account seidel.jonathan@gmail.com
GUILTY
UPHELD
16. 11/22/2008 PL 190.25(1) Criminal impersonation in the second degree
(8 of 14 counts)
Sent email from seidel.jonathan@gmail.com to Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
GUILTY
UPHELD
17. 11/22/2008 PL 170.05. Forgery in the third degree
(6 of 10 counts)
Sent email from seidel.jonathan@gmail.com to Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
GUILTY
UPHELD
18. 11/24/2008 PL 190.25(1) Criminal impersonation in the second degree
(9 of 14 counts)
Sent email from seidel.jonathan@gmail.com to Risa Kohn (ROM’s curator for Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit)
GUILTY
UPHELD
19. 11/24/2008 PL 170.05. Forgery in the third degree
(7 of 10 counts)
Sent email from seidel.jonathan@gmail.com to Risa Kohn (ROM’s curator for Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit)
GUILTY
UPHELD
20. 11/24/2008 PL 190.25(1) Criminal impersonation in the second degree
(10 of 14 counts)
Sent email from seidel.jonathan@gmail.com regarding Norman Golb
GUILTY
UPHELD
21. 11/24/2008 PL 170.05. Forgery in the third degree
(8 of 10 counts)
Sent email from seidel.jonathan@gmail.com regarding Norman Golb
GUILTY
UPHELD
22. 12/6/2008 PL 190.25(1) Criminal impersonation in the second degree
(11 of 14 counts)
Sent email from seidel.jonathan@gmail.com regarding Stephen Goranson internet post
GUILTY
UPHELD
23. 12/6/2008 PL 170.05. Forgery in the third degree
(9 of 10 counts)
Sent email from seidel.jonathan@gmail.com regarding Stephen Goranson internet post
GUILTY
UPHELD
24. 7/1/2008 – 12/31/2008 PL240.30(l)(a) Aggravated harassment in the second degree
(2 of 3 counts)
Aggravated Harassment of Stephen Goranson
GUILTY
UPHELD
25. 8/7/2008 PL 190.25(1) Criminal impersonation in the second degree
(12 of 14 counts)
Created email account steve.goranson@gmail.com
GUILTY
UPHELD
26. 7/20/2008 PL 190.25(1) Criminal impersonation in the second degree
(13 of 14 counts)
Created email account frank.cross2@gmail.com
GUILTY
UPHELD
27. 7/20/2008 PL 190.25(1) Criminal impersonation in the second degree
(14 of 14 counts)
Sent email from frank.cross2@gmail.com regarding Bart Ehrman and the Jewish Museum
GUILTY
UPHELD
28. 7/20/2008 PL 170.05. Forgery in the third degree
(10 of 10 counts)
Sent email from frank.cross2@gmail.com regarding Bart Ehrman and the Jewish Museum
GUILTY
UPHELD
29. 6/1/2007 – 3/1/2009 PL 240.30(l)(a) Aggravated harassment in the second degree
(3 of 3 counts)
Aggravated harassment of Robert Cargill
GUILTY
UPHELD
30. 7/1/2008 – 3/1/2009 PL 156.05 Unauthorized use of a Computer
(1 count)
Unauthorized use of NYU computers to commit criminal offenses and otherwise in violation of NYU computer use policy
GUILTY
UPHELD

The rest of the appellate court’s decision reads as follows:

Defendant’s convictions arise out of his use of emails to impersonate actual persons. Nothing in this prosecution, or in the court’s jury charge, violated defendant’s First Amendment or other constitutional rights.

Defendant is the son of an expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Defendant set up email accounts in which he pretended to be other scholars who disagreed with defendant’s father’s opinion on the origin of the Scrolls. Among other things, defendant sent emails in which one of his father’s rivals purportedly admitted to acts of plagiarism.

Defendant’s principal defense was that these emails were only intended to be satiric hoaxes or pranks. However, as it has been observed in the context of trademark law, “[a] parody must convey two simultaneous – and contradictory – messages: that it is the original, but also that it is not the original and is instead a parody” (Cliffs Notes, Inc. v Bantam Doubleday Dell Pub. Group, Inc., 886 F2d 490, 494 [2d Cir 1989]). Here, the evidence clearly established that defendant never intended any kind of parody. Instead, he only intended to convey the first message to the readers of the emails, that is, that the purported authors were the actual authors. It was equally clear that defendant intended that the recipients’ reliance on this deception would cause harm to the purported authors and benefits to defendant or his father.

The court’s charge, which incorporated many of defendant’s requests, fully protected his constitutional rights, and the court was not required to grant defendant’s requests for additional instructions. The court carefully informed the jury that academic discussion, parody, satire and the use of pseudonyms were protected by the First Amendment.

The court also ensured that the jury understood the terms “fraud” and “defraud” by [*2]expanding their definition and advised the jury that “without the intent to deceive or defraud as to the source of the speech with the intent to reap a benefit from that deceit, there is no crime.” The court was under no obligation to limit the definitions of “injure” or “defraud” – terms used in the forgery and criminal impersonation statutes – to tangible harms such as financial harm (see People v Kase, 76 AD2d 532, 537-538 [1st Dept 1980], affd 53 NY2d 989 [1981]). The court also properly employed the statutory definition of “benefit” as “any gain or advantage” to defendant or to another person (Penal Law § 10.00[17]).

Defendant argues that it is constitutionally impermissible to include an intent to influence a constitutionally-protected academic debate within the concept of fraud, injury or benefit, that allowing injury to reputation to satisfy the injury element would effectively revive the long-abandoned offense of criminal libel, and that, in any event, the alleged truth of the content of the emails should have been permitted as a defense. However, the evidence established that defendant intended harm that fell within the plain meaning of the term “injure,” and that was not protected by the First Amendment, including damage to the careers and livelihoods of the scholars he impersonated. Defendant also intended to create specific benefits for his father’s career. The fact that the underlying dispute between defendant and his father’s rivals was a constitutionally-protected debate does not provide any First Amendment protection for acts that were otherwise unlawful.

Defendant was not prosecuted for the content of any of the emails, but only for giving the false impression that his victims were the actual authors of the emails. The First Amendment protects the right to criticize another person, but it does not permit anyone to give an intentionally false impression that the source of the message is that other person (see SMJ Group, Inc. v 417 Lafayette Restaurant LLC, 439 F Supp 2d 281 (SD NY 2006]).

We have considered and rejected defendant’s remaining arguments concerning the court’s charge. We similarly reject his claims that the statutes under which he was convicted were unconstitutionally vague or overbroad. None of these statutes was vague or overbroad on its face or as applied (see People v Shack, 86 NY2d 529, 538 [1995]; Broadrick v Oklahoma, 413 US 601, 611-616 [1973]). The People were required to prove that defendant had the specific fraudulent intent to deceive email recipients about his identity, and to obtain benefits or cause injuries as a result of the recipients’ reliance on that deception. The statutes criminalized the act of impersonation and its unlawful intent, not the content of speech falsely imputed to the victims.

The verdict was based on legally sufficient evidence and was not against the weight of the evidence, with the exception of the identity theft conviction under the first count. The theory of that count was that in the commission of identity theft in the second degree (Penal Law § 190.79[3]), defendant attempted to commit the felony of scheme to defraud in the first degree [*3](Penal Law § 190.65[1][b]). However, there was no evidence that defendant intended to defraud one or more persons of property in excess of $1,000 or that he attempted to do so (see id.). The People’s assertions in this regard rest on speculation.

THIS CONSTITUTES THE DECISION AND ORDER
OF THE SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE DIVISION, FIRST DEPARTMENT.

ENTERED: JANUARY 29, 2013

CLERK

(emphases mine)

If Dr. Golb stays true to form, he will almost certainly appeal this again, perhaps in some other jurisdiction. If nothing else, this case has demonstrated that certain people have tremendous difficulty putting down the shovel after digging themselves into a hole.

Still, I am pleased with the court’s decision. While the wheels of justice turn slowly, and afford the guilty every possible avenue of defense, the process has demonstrated that it works in the end.

highlights from raphael golb’s initial police interview

Raphael and Norman Golb

Raphael Golb and his father, University of Chicago historian Dr. Norman Golb. Raphael Golb is charged with multiple felony and misdemeanor counts of forgery, identity theft, impersonation, and aggravated harassment of several Dead Sea Scrolls scholars.

the following are some of the more noteworthy statements made by raphael golb during his police interview immediately following his march 5, 2009 arrest.

I WON’T ANSWER WHETHER I HAVE POSTED ANY ARTICLES ON THE INTERNET ABOUT THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS. I WON’T ANSWER BECAUSE I THINK SCHIFFMAN IS OUT TO GET MY FATHER. HE MIGHT SUE ME.

so… you won’t answer, because if you do answer the question truthfully, you might get sued. got it.

THE CONFERENCES ABOUT THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS ARE USUALLY MONOPOLIZED BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE THE SAME VIEW AS SCHIFFMAN.

really? schiffman’s view of a zadokite/sadducean origin of the scrolls was/is commonly held by the majority?? methinks raphael is mistaken. for a long time, dr. schiffman’s view was very much a minority view. only recently has scholarship come to embrace his theories about the scrolls, but still many do not.

AM I ANGRY AT DR. SCHIFFMAN? I’M MY FATHER’S SON.

truer words have never been spoken.

I’M ESPECIALLY ANGRY WITH DR. SCHIFFMAN IF HE FILED THIS COMPLAINT AGAINST ME. I FIND THE GUY A BIT NAUSEATING TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH.

yeah, that’s not gonna help you with the whole ‘motive’ thing…

I THINK I MIGHT ONCE HAVE POSTED A REMARK ON THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS USING MY OWN NAME, A LITTLE REMARK ABOUT A MUSEUM EXHIBIT OR SOMETHING.

ya, maybe once. maybe just once.

THERE’S BEEN A WHOLE SERIES OF MUSEUM EXHIBITS ABOUT THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS WHERE THEY’VE BEEN EXCLUDING THE VIEWPOINT OF SOME. DR. SCHIFFMAN KEEPS APPEARING AT THESE MUSEUM EXHIBITS, SPEAKING AT THEM, GIVING LECTURES AT THEM. MY FATHER HAS ATTACKED THEM IN A SERIES OF ARTICLES ON THE ORIENTAL WEBSITE.

again, not gonna help you with the whole ‘motive’ thing, raphael. dr. schiffman keeps getting invited to speak as a distinguished lecturer, but your dad doesn’t. sounds like a retributive motive to me. at least you acknowledge that your own father is ‘attacking’ museum exhibitions. so thanx for that.

ALL OF THESE PEOPLE HAVE EXCLUDED MY FATHER FROM THESE MUSEUM EXHIBITS.

once again, thanx for openly declaring (apparently) at least part of your motive.

I’D RATHER NOT GET INTO WHETHER I HAVE POSTED BLOGS ABOUT THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS USING NAMES OTHER THAN MY OWN, FOR FEAR OF LAWSUITS.

at this point, i feel raphael golb does not realize that the answers he is giving aren’t helping him. he doesn’t want to answer because he’s afraid he’ll get sued. that’s why he used aliases – because he knew what he was doing was wrong and he would be sued for it. well, guess what raphael….

I NEVER PRETENDED TO BE LAWRENCE SCHIFFMAN, I NEVER OPENED AN EMAIL ACCOUNT IN HIS NAME, I NEVER SENT EMAILS PRETENDING TO BE HIM. I NEVER AUTHORED A BLOG ACCUSING DR. SCHIFFMAN OF PLAGIARISM. I READ IT, BUT DIDN’T WRITE IT.

um… yeah, about this statement: perhaps we can read the emails described here (see section 19-32 on p. 8-11). now, would you like to rethink your previous statement?

I DIDN’T OPEN AN EMAIL ACCOUNT IN THE NAME OF STEPHEN GORANSON. I THINK I KNOW WHO HE IS – SOMEBODY SMEARING MY FATHER. I THINK HE IS A VERY SAD CASE. I DON’T THINK HE HAS AN ACADEMIC POSITION.

ok. here’s a little constructive criticism, rapha. when under arrest for aggravated harassment against someone, it’s probably not a good idea – while in the midst of your denial – to make fun of the victim. just my two cents worth, but you can have that advice for free. seriously, do you really believe someone’s worth and value rests upon whether or not one holds an academic position like daddy?

for the record, i met stephen goranson this past march at duke. he is a wonderful, kind, and quite humble man, and an excellent scholar. likewise, he is well respected at duke by the faculty. golb’s attacks on goranson were part of the reason i went public with my data. the attacks were undeserved. yet, even while he was under arrest, raphael golb still found the time to rip his victim. unbelievable!

I’D RATHER NOT GET INTO WHETHER I HAVE EVER OPENED UP EMAIL ACCOUNTS IN NAMES OTHER THAN MY OWN. I’D RATHER NOT GET INTO MY NICKNAMES. I’D RATHER NOT GET INTO WHETHER I BLOGGED UNDER THE NAME CHARLES GADDA.

and why is that again?

FAMILY MEMBERS PROBABLY DON’T WANT PEOPLE MAKING FUN OF THEIR PARENTS, POSTING THINGS ON THE INTERNET.

i’m guessing the same goes for scholars, advisors, and colleagues.

ROBERT CARGILL COMPLAINED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO TO GET MY FATHER’S ARTICLE ABOUT HIS FILM REMOVED FROM THE WEB SITE. HE WAS ATTACKED. I’D RATHER NOT GET INTO WHETHER I DID ANY BLOGS ABOUT ROBERT CARGILL.

oh goodness, where to begin? yes, i did write to the university of chicago. yes, they removed norman golb’s critique of my unpublished script. yes, the university’s legal counsel knew that despite golb’s claims, there was no way on earth citing the marginal notes of a grad student’s unpublished script would meet the criteria for ‘fair use,’ especially in the face of two separate warnings that no portion of the script may be reproduced. the university lawyers knew they were vulnerable and made norman golb remove his critique, which violated copyright. and again, you are probably right about getting sued if it’s proved that you spammed my ucla faculty to suggest that they not grant me my ph.d. because i didn’t agree with your father’s conclusions.

OBVIOUSLY I DON’T LIKE PEOPLE WHO SMEAR MY FATHER, WHO PLAGIARIZE MY FATHER, WHO MISREPRESENT HIS VIEWS. IT’S VERY FRUSTRATING.

again, this speaks to motive.

IF I HAD AN INTEREST IN THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS SCANDAL, IT WOULD BE MUSEUM EXHIBITS.

like this and this and this and this and this?

I DON’T WANT TO GET INTO HOW MUCH I KNOW ABOUT THE INTERNET. I DON’T KNOW WHAT AN INTERNET PROTOCOL ADDRESS IS.

let me answer for you. at the beginning, you didn’t know the difference between an ‘ip’ and a ‘teepee.’ you had no idea that yahoo emails stored the ip address in the header, while gmail (where you’d eventually migrate) did a better job of disguising the ips. at the beginning, you didn’t know about the ip address at your home, and you didn’t know about ip ranges at the bobst. you didn’t know that you could be tracked until some bloggers spelled it out for you. you’d respond with ridiculous comments about three friends sharing a computer around a table. remember that? i do. you didn’t know about vpn and dynamic ip addresses until it was too late and i already had your ip addresses.

there’s something to be said for non-retaliation and silence. you didn’t know what i was doing. ironically, for the first year of your attacks against me and others, all i did was ‘write it all down.’ non-engagement does not mean disinterest. non-retaliation does not mean ignorance, apathy, or impotence. there is tremendous power in non-retaliation. methinks you’re beginning to understand that now.

MY BROTHER IS JOEL GOLB. HE HAS A SNAFU EMAIL ACCOUNT.

well, this helps. again, we appreciate you bringing your brother joel into this, since i left him out.

I DON’T WANT TO GET INTO WHETHER I DID IT FOR MY FATHER. I DON’T WANT TO BE SUED BY LAWRENCE SCHIFFMAN.

um, i don’t want to say it again, but failing to answer for fear of a civil suit says much about your motives.

I HAVE COMMUNICATED WITH JOEL GOLB AND MY FATHER ABOUT THESE BLOGS.

uh oh. you mean like this? (see section 72-82 entitled ‘potential involvement of others’) are you really admitting that your father and brother knew about this? they were in on it?

I’M NOT GOING TO ANSWER WHETHER THE CHARLES GADDA ALIAS IS ME. IF IN THEORY I WERE CHARLES GADDA…

this is just rich. i’ll say nothing more.

THEY WOULD SAY THAT MY FATHER IS DOING IT OR ASKING ME TO DO IT. MY FATHER CERTAINLY NEVER ASKED ME TO DO ANYTHING OF THE KIND. NOR WOULD HE ENCOURAGE ME OR APPROVE OF ME DOING ANYTHING LIKE THAT.

um, i’m guessing this (see section 72-82 entitled ‘potential involvement of others’) is going to cast some doubt on this statement.

PETER KAUFMAN – IS THAT THE NAME OF THE PERSON WHO PUBLISHED THE ARTICLE ABOUT SCHIFFMAN ON THE NOW PUBLIC BLOGSITE? I’M NOT GOING TO GET INTO WHETHER I OPENED AN EMAIL ACCOUNT IN HIS NAME.

and probably for good reason.

UNDER THE SUPPOSITION THAT I PUBLISHED ARTICLES ABOUT CARGILL’S FILM, THAT WAS INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING ABOUT A SERIOUS MATTER INVOLVING MISCONDUCT IN THE MUSEUM BY A PROFESSOR AT UCLA.

yes, you’re a great ‘investigative reporter,’ raphael. how many ‘investigative reporters’ are arrested for forgery, identity theft, criminal impersonation, and aggravated harassment??

no wonder you’re seeking to dismiss this evidence. lol.

if you’re not guilty, why offer to plead guilty?

Raphael Golb

Raphael Golb is accused of multiple felony and misdemeanor counts of forgery, identity theft, impersonation, and aggravated harassment.

question: if you’re not guilty, why offer to plead guilty? why did raphael golb’s attorney offer a plea deal where raphael golb would plead guilty to lesser misdemeanor charges? according to the new york district attorney’s affirmation in response to the defense’s omnibus motion,  p. 2, fn 2, raphael golb’s attorney offered to have raphael golb plead guilty to all counts if the more serious felony counts were reduced to misdemeanors. apparently, the new york district attorney’s office declined.

2 Defendant’s gratuitous comment that “the People dragged their heels for more than 3 months before they indicted this matter” makes for entertaining reading, yet is inaccurate and invites a response. See Defendant’s Affirmation p. 2, par 5. First, the Criminal Procedure Law provides for speedy trial time periods, the People are well within these limits, and defendant cites no legal authority regarding his complaint of “foot dragging”. Thus defendant’s comment is without any legal basis. Second, the comment is without any factual basis. Defense counsel’s own requests to resolve this case with a misdemeanor guilty plea were one factor that helped delay the indictment. Given that defendant requested a misdemeanor plea offer, he should have been pleased that the People didn’t seek an indictment immediately. Finally, defendant is aware of the complexity of this case, voluminous search warrant material recovered on the date of arrest, and some of the results of the digital evidence examination. Thus, this matter was presented to the Grand Jury after careful consideration, planning, and preparation.

this raises the question: why did raphael golb(‘s lawyer) offer to plead guilty to lesser charges?  if you are guilty of misdemeanor counts in the case, you are still guilty! if you committed a crime, you committed a crime, whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony.

again, as the evidence continues to comes out, the truth of the golbs’ entire campaign of deception and defamation is being laid bare.

text of raphael golb’s police interview immediately following his arrest

Raphael Golb

Raphael Golb, accused of multiple counts of forgery, identity theft, aggravated harassment, and impersonation

the following is the transcript of raphael haim golb’s interview with new york police immediately following his march 5, 2009 arrest.

the following information is a portion of publicly available documents associated with the case of:

‘the people of the state of new york vs. raphael golb’ (indictment no. 2721/2009, docket no. 2009ny018004).

  • doc: people’s voluntary disclosure form
  • date: march 5, 2009
  • time: 10:46 am to 12:36 pm
  • location: n.y. co. district attorney’s office, ecab
  • substance: see exhibit b: summary of defendant’s video statement

EXHIBIT B

SUMMARY OF DEFENDANT’S VIDEO STATEMENT

A FEW MONTHS AGO, I HEARD AT A DINNER PARTY, THAT A PROFESSOR AT NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, LAWRENCE SCHIFFMAN, SAID THAT I WOULD HAVE LEGAL PROBLEMS BECAUSE I AM USING FALSE NAMES. I THINK HE FILED A FALSE COMPLAINT AGAINST ME.

THERE’S A CHAPTER IN MY FATHER’S BOOK, WHO WROTE THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS, ABOUT LAWRENCE SCHIFFMAN. IT DESTROYS SCHIFFMAN’S THEORY. IT SHOWS THAT SCHIFFMAN PLAGIARIZED MY FATHER AND THAT SCHIFFMAN MISREPRESENTED HIS THEORIES. AN ARTICLE CAME OUT ON THE INTERNET – I DIDN’T WRITE THAT ARTICLE.

SOMEBODY PUBLISHED SOMETHING ON THE INTERNET. APPARENTLY DR. SCHIFFMAN BELIEVES IT’S ME AND HE’S FILED A COMPLAINT AGAINST ME. THE REASON HE’S FILING A COMPLAINT AGAINST ME IS TO GET BACK AT MY FATHER. IT’S OUT OF MALICIOUSNESS TOWARDS MY FATHER. HE CAN’T GET BACK AT MY FATHER FOR HIS BOOK SO HE’S GETTING AT HIS SON.

I WON’T ANSWER WHETHER I HAVE POSTED ANY ARTICLES ON THE INTERNET ABOUT THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS. I WON’T ANSWER BECAUSE I THINK SCHIFFMAN IS OUT TO GET MY FATHER. HE MIGHT SUE ME.

THERE WAS AN ARTICLE CALLED SOMETHING, SOMETHING WITH PLAGIARISM IN IT, SCHIFFMAN, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, THAT’S ALL I REMEMBER. BUT IF YOU READ THAT ARTICLE, YOU’LL SEE THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST SCHIFFMAN. YOU’VE SEEN THAT THEY WERE RAISED BY AN ISRAELI JOURNALIST. THIS WAS IN MY FATHER’S BOOK. EVERYBODY KNOWS ABOUT THIS.

MY SITUATION IS THAT I FEAR THAT DR. SCHIFFMAN COMPLAINED AGAINST ME. I FIND HIM TO BE A VERY FRIGHTENING PERSON FOR VARIOUS REASONS. HE DESTROYED THE CAREER OF MY FATHER’S BEST STUDENT, MICHAEL WISE. HE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A PROFESSOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO AND THERE WAS THIS CONFERENCE ON THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS IN NEW YORK. I DON’T REMEMBER WHAT YEAR, 1992 OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. I WENT TO THE CONFERENCE. MY FATHER ORGANIZED THIS CONFERENCE WITH ANOTHER PROFESSOR AND IT WAS THE FIRST CONFERENCE EVER HELD ABOUT THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS IN WHICH THEY INVITED PEOPLE WITH A DIFFERENT OPINION. THE CONFERENCES ABOUT THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS ARE USUALLY MONOPOLIZED BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE THE SAME VIEW AS SCHIFFMAN. SO MY FATHER ORGANIZED A CONFERENCE AT WHICH PEOPLE WHO HAD DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW WOULD DEBATE THE EVIDENCE FOR THE FIRST TIME. AROUND THAT TIME STUDENT OF MY FATHER HAD PUBLISHED A BOOK WITH ANOTHER PROFESSOR IN CALIFORNIA.

THEY MOUNTED THIS CAMPAIGN. SCHIFFMAN WROTE A PRESS RELEASE. HE CONTACTED JOURNALISTS AND PUT A STATEMENT OUT ABOUT THIS BOOK OF MY FATHER’S STUDENT. SMEARING HIM, ATTACKING THE BOOK SAYING THAT IT WAS UNETHICAL AND ALL KINDS OF STUFF, WHICH IT WASN’T. THEY ACCUSED HIM OF BIBLIOGRAPHIC INACCURACIES – NOT CITING SOURCES. HE WAS ON TRACK TO GET TENURE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO AND HE DIDN’T GET IT.

AM I ANGRY AT DR. SCHIFFMAN? I’M MY FATHER’S SON. I’M ESPECIALLY ANGRY WITH DR. SCHIFFMAN IF HE FILED THIS COMPLAINT AGAINST ME. I FIND THE GUY A BIT NAUSEATING TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH. I KNOW THAT HE WOULD STOP AT NOTHING TO GET AT MY FATHER.

FOR YEARS I’VE DONE GOOGLE SEARCHES FOR MY FATHER’S NAME. IT’S FILLED WITH ALL KINDS OF SMEARS AGAINST MY FATHER FOR YEARS.

I THINK I MIGHT ONCE HAVE POSTED A REMARK ON THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS USING MY OWN NAME, A LITTLE REMARK ABOUT A MUSEUM EXHIBIT OR SOMETHING. MAYBE THREE YEARS AGO.

THERE’S BEEN A WHOLE SERIES OF MUSEUM EXHIBITS ABOUT THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS WHERE THEY’VE BEEN EXCLUDING THE VIEWPOINT OF SOME. DR. SCHIFFMAN KEEPS APPEARING AT THESE MUSEUM EXHIBITS, SPEAKING AT THEM, GIVING LECTURES AT THEM. MY FATHER HAS ATTACKED THEM IN A SERIES OF ARTICLES ON THE ORIENTAL WEBSITE.

THESE PEOPLE ARE OBVIOUSLY DEEPLY ENRAGED AT MY FATHER AND THEY ARE VERY WORRIED. THEIR TACTIC WITH RESPECT TO MY FATHER INITIALLY WAS SIMPLY TO IGNORE HIM. THEN THEIR TACTIC WAS THAT HE WAS AN ISOLATED PERSON. HE WAS ONLY ONE PERSON, WHO WAS ENTITLED TO HAVE HIS POINT OF VIEW.

ALL OF THESE PEOPLE HAVE EXCLUDED MY FATHER FROM THESE MUSEUM EXHIBITS. AND THAT’S WHAT THEY’RE AFRAID OF. THEY’RE AFRAID THAT THEY ARE GOING TO BE OBLIGED TO STOP DOING THAT. TO START PRESENTING THE TRUTH TO THE PUBLIC THAT THERE WERE TWO DIFFERENT THEORIES. THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED AT THE JEWISH MUSEUM. THE JEWISH MUSEUM SAW WHAT WAS GOING ON AND THEY HAD AN EXHIBIT. I DIDN’T GO TO IT. BUT MY FATHER WROTE A REVIEW OF IT BECAUSE THEY SUPPLIED HIM WITH ALL THE MATERIAL. I BELIEVE DR. SCHIFFMAN SPOKE AT THAT, BUT I WASN’T THERE.

I’D RATHER NOT GET INTO WHETHER I HAVE POSTED BLOGS ABOUT THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS USING NAMES OTHER THAN MY OWN, FOR FEAR OF LAWSUITS.

I NEVER PRETENDED TO BE LAWRENCE SCHIFFMAN, I NEVER OPENED AN EMAIL ACCOUNT IN HIS NAME, I NEVER SENT EMAILS PRETENDING TO BE HIM. I NEVER AUTHORED A BLOG ACCUSING DR. SCHIFFMAN OF PLAGIARISM. I READ IT, BUT DIDN’T WRITE IT.

I DIDN’T OPEN AN EMAIL ACCOUNT IN THE NAME OF STEPHEN GORANSON. I THINK I KNOW WHO HE IS – SOMEBODY SMEARING MY FATHER. I THINK HE IS A VERY SAD CASE. I DON’T THINK HE HAS AN ACADEMIC POSITION. I THINK THAT HE’S ONE OF THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE SMEAR CAMPAIGN AGAINST MY FATHER FOR MANY YEARS GOING BACK TO THE 1990’S.

I’D RATHER NOT GET INTO WHETHER I HAVE EVER OPENED UP EMAIL ACCOUNTS IN NAMES OTHER THAN MY OWN. I’D RATHER NOT GET INTO MY NICKNAMES. I’D RATHER NOT GET INTO WHETHER I BLOGGED UNDER THE NAME CHARLES GADDA. WHOEVER WROTE BLOGS UNDER THE NAME CHARLES GADDA HAS A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO WRITE BLOGS UNDER THE NAME CHARLES GADDA.

FAMILY MEMBERS PROBABLY DON’T WANT PEOPLE MAKING FUN OF THEIR PARENTS, POSTING THINGS ON THE INTERNET.

ROBERT CARGILL COMPLAINED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO TO GET MY FATHER’S ARTICLE ABOUT HIS FILM REMOVED FROM THE WEB SITE. HE WAS ATTACKED. I’D RATHER NOT GET INTO WHETHER I DID ANY BLOGS ABOUT ROBERT CARGILL.

I AM SORRY FOR DR. SCHIFFMAN IF SOMEONE OPENED AN EMAIL ACCOUNT USING HIS NAME. BUT THAT WASN’T ME. OBVIOUSLY I DON’T LIKE PEOPLE WHO SMEAR MY FATHER, WHO PLAGIARIZE MY FATHER, WHO MISREPRESENT HIS VIEWS. IT’S VERY FRUSTRATING. I MEAN HE DID IT IN HIS BOOK AND EVERYTHING. IT WAS FRUSTRATING. I WOULDN’T OPEN UP AN EMAIL ACCOUNT IN HIS NAME.

IF I HAD AN INTEREST IN THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS SCANDAL, IT WOULD BE MUSEUM EXHIBITS.

I WENT TO HARVARD UNIVERSITY AND NYU LAW SCHOOL AND OBERLIN COLLEGE. I’VE BEEN WRITING A BOOK ON THE FRENCH OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS. I DO REAL ESTATE LAW. I LIVE AT 206 THOMPSON ST. I AM A LAWYER AND AUTHOR.

I HAVE INTERNET AT HOME. MAYBE ON OCCASION I HAVE ACCESSED THE INTERNET AT NYU. WHEN I AM AT THE BOBST LIBRARY. I AM WRITING A BOOK AT BOBST LIBRARY. I HARDLY EVER CHECK MY EMAILS AT NYU. I LIVE RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER FROM THE PLACE. WHEN I GO THERE, IT’S TO WORK ON MY BOOK. I HAVE NO IDEA HOW MANY TIMES I’VE USED THE NYU COMPUTERS. I USE THEM BECAUSE I DON’T FEEL COMFORTABLE WRITING MY BOOK AT HOME. I STORE MY BOOK ON A MEMORY STICK.

I DON’T WANT TO GET INTO HOW MUCH I KNOW ABOUT THE INTERNET. I DON’T KNOW WHAT AN INTERNET PROTOCOL ADDRESS IS.

MY BROTHER IS JOEL GOLB. HE HAS A SNAFU EMAIL ACCOUNT. MY EMAIL ACCOUNT IS RAPHAEL.G AT GMAIL.COM MY FATHER’S EMAIL ADDRESS IS N-GOLB@UCHICAGO.EDU. MY FATHER DOESN’T BLOG. I DON’T WANT TO GET INTO WHETHER I DID IT FOR MY FATHER. I DON’T WANT TO BE SUED BY LAWRENCE SCHIFFMAN. I AM NOT INVOLVED IN OPENING UP EMAIL ADDRESSES IN SCHIFFMAN’S NAME AND I AM NOT INVOLVED IN BLOGGING ABOUT SCHIFFMAN. TO MY KNOWLEDGE, JOEL GOLB IS NOT INVOLVED IN BLOGGING ABOUT SCHIFFMAN, BUT ASK HIM. I HAVE COMMUNICATED WITH JOEL GOLB AND MY FATHER ABOUT THESE BLOGS. I WON’T GET INTO THE POSTING OF THE BLOGS. IT WAS NOT MY BROTHER JOEL WHO OPENED THE LARRY.SCHLFFMAN EMAIL ACCOUNT AS FAR AS I KNOW. I CAN’T SEE MY FATHER DOING IT. THAT WOULD BE PREPOSTEROUS. I’M SURE DR. SCHIFFMAN HAS LOTS OF ENEMIES

I’M NOT GOING TO ANSWER WHETHER THE CHARLES GADDA ALIAS IS ME. IF IN THEORY I WERE CHARLES GADDA, THAT FACT WOULD BE USED TO SMEAR MY FATHER. THEY WOULD SAY THAT MY FATHER IS DOING IT OR ASKING ME TO DO IT. MY FATHER CERTAINLY NEVER ASKED ME TO DO ANYTHING OF THE KIND. NOR WOULD HE ENCOURAGE ME OR APPROVE OF ME DOING ANYTHING LIKE THAT. HE MIGHT NOT APPROVE OF SOME OF THE THINGS THAT CHARLES GADDA HAS SAID. CHARLES GADDA HAS EMPHASIZED RELIGIOUS ASPECTS OF THE DEAD SEA SCROLL SCANDAL. MY FATHER’S PERSPECTIVE ON THE MOTIVATIONS BEHIND THIS WHOLE THING IS THAT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN PROTECTING A THEORY. HE’S A SCIENTIST. HIS INTEREST IS IN A SCIENTIFIC PROBLEM.

FRANK CROSS IS A FAMOUS DEAD SEA SCROLLS SCHOLAR. I DON’T BELIEVE I OPENED AN EMAIL ACCOUNT IN HIS NAME. PETER KAUFMAN – IS THAT THE NAME OF THE PERSON WHO PUBLISHED THE ARTICLE ABOUT SCHIFFMAN ON THE NOW PUBLIC BLOGSITE? I’M NOT GOING TO GET INTO WHETHER I OPENED AN EMAIL ACCOUNT IN HIS NAME.

JEFFREY GIBSON? THERE’S A WEBSITE CALLED ALIASES OF JEFFREY GIBSON. I BELIEVE JEFFREY GIBSON IS IN CHICAGO AND HE IS INVOLVED IN SOME BIBLICAL STUFF. I DIDN’T OPEN AN EMAIL ACCOUNT IN HIS NAME

IF I WERE INTERESTED IN THIS, IT’S WITH RESPECT TO MUSEUM EXHIBITS AND NOT DR. SCHIFFMAN. I SUSPECT THERE’S SOMEONE WHO HATES HIM AND DECIDED TO GIVE IT TO HIM AND USED THE PLAGIARISM TO DO IT. THERE COULD BE PEOPLE ALL OVER NEW YORK WHO DISLIKE HIM.

I DON’T KNOW A JONATHAN SEIDEL. I DIDN’T OPEN AN EMAIL ACCOUNT IN HIS NAME, TO MY MEMORY.

UNDER THE SUPPOSITION THAT I PUBLISHED ARTICLES ABOUT CARGILL’S FILM, THAT WAS INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING ABOUT A SERIOUS MATTER INVOLVING MISCONDUCT IN THE MUSEUM BY A PROFESSOR AT UCLA.

==end of transcript==

on recent news about the ‘cloak and browser’ case against raphael golb

Raphael (left) and Norman Golb

Raphael (left) and Norman Golb. Raphael Golb is accused of multiple felony and misdemeanor counts of identity theft, forgery, criminal impersonation, and aggravated harassment while using aliases to promote the views of his father, Dr. Norman Golb, and smear the names of his father's perceived opponents.

raphael haim golb was back in court on wed. nov. 3, 2009, providing the latest episode in the ever-enthralling ‘cloak and browser’ internet anonymity scandal involving the son of university of chicago historian norman golb, who impersonated another scholar and confessed to plagiarism in his name.

in his about new york column, new york times columnist jim dwyer wrote a nov. 6, 2009 piece about the raphael golb internet scandal entitled, ‘2,000-year-old scrolls, internet-era crime.’ likewise, the associated press wrote a summary of golb’s recent nov 4, 2009 court proceedings entitled, ‘lawyer claims parodies, pranks at risk in dead sea scrolls case.’ likewise, jennifer peltz of the associated press also wrote an article entitled, ‘ny case spotlights dead sea scrolls, fake e-mails‘ which appears on yahoo news. clearly, this case is important both for its implications regarding anonymity, impersonation, and identity theft on the internet, and its repercussions for scholarship within the academy.

and each day that this case drags on, university of chicago historian norman golb’s legacy and reputation becomes more associated with scandal, dishonesty, internet crime and academic fraud, and less associated with his life of scholarship. yet, raphael golb’s defense is insisting that golb’s actions are protected by the first amendment to the constitution.

recent proceedings in the case of the people of new york vs. raphael golb

while the recent press coverage of the golb scandal has been fair, it is relaying some claims by the defense that are misleading or simply not true.

for instance, in his new york times article, dwyer states:

For a while, no one knew that 50 different names in the Dead Sea Scrolls debate were the prolific Mr. Golb…

this is incorrect. i knew, as did a host of others. we all knew. i knew who it was. i tracked everything he did. the potential libel and defamation were civil matters, and i wanted an accurate log of everything golb did or wrote. but when he crossed the line and acted criminally by impersonating nyu professor dr. lawrence schiffman, i contacted schiffman (as i had done with several other scholars before him), told him who was behind it, and handed what i had collected over to the ny district attorney’s office.

======

another instance is the claim by raphael golb’s attorney, ronald kuby, that what golb did is commonplace. according to dwyer, golb’s lawyer:

argued that prosecutors were trying to criminalize the commonplace. Both sides in the Dead Sea Scrolls debate, they said, use “sock puppets” — fake identities — on the Internet to make it seem as if scores of people are arguing a point.

“These bloggers marshaled their legion of sock puppets to engage in intellectual combat with the sock puppets allegedly created by Raphael Golb and others,” the lawyers wrote.

XKV8R License Plate

XKV8R (excavator) is currently the California license plate for Dr. Robert Cargill's hybrid Toyota Prius

this statement contains multiple problems. first, where is the ‘legion of sock puppets’ about which golb’s attorney speaks? golb had over 80 aliases (‘alias’ defined as a pseudonym intended to mask the true identity of an author). we know the alias’ names. but to argue that golb was simply battling against other aliases is misleading. many on the internet have internet ‘user names‘, nicknames, or ‘handles’ (like old cb radio handles), but these are not intended to disguise identity. for instance one of my handles is bobcargill (all lower case, one word) – not really much of a disguise. all of the posts i make on this blog are done in the username of ‘bobcargill.’ my user name/handle on wikipedia is ‘xkv8r‘ (previously ‘israelxkv8r‘). again, this handle points to my wikipedia user page, which is complete with pictures and a full biography, making my identity easily known. additionally, the fact that xkv8r.com redirects to my bobcargill.com website, and serves as my california license plate number makes it quite clear exactly who i am.

however, this is not the case with raphael golb. on several occasions, golb vehemently protested discussion about his true identity on wikipedia, perhaps fearful that were his true identity to be made known, he would be the target of any number of civil lawsuits. likewise, raphael golb was always careful to not betray any privy knowledge of or communication with his father, norman golb, for were it ever shown that raphael golb was in direct communication with his father, it may pose the same potential problem for norman golb and his employer, the university of chicago. therefore, raphael golb went to a great lengths to conceal his identity. criminals usually don’t like it when victims know who is behind the mask. but, the rest of us on the internet are not concerned whether the public knows who we are. this is because we are not cowards, but are willing to stand behind the free speech we make.

there is another problem with this line of defense. sock puppets are unfortunately a reality on the internet. but, this does not make them appropriate or legal in certain contexts. for instance, wikipedia prohibits the use of sock puppets on their site. ironically, it was golb’s use of multiple sock puppets on wikipedia (‘critical_reader‘, ‘philip kirby,’ and ultimately ‘rachel.greenberg‘) that provided the final piece of evidence we needed to prove that all of the sock puppets were, in fact, tied to alias ‘charles gadda,’ and therefore to raphael golb. thus, sockpuppetry is not permitted on several of the forums in which raphael golb participated, and it was the reason golb was banished from wikipedia.

the use of aliases by raphael golb was not to promote free speech, but to disguise criminal activity!

======

another problem stems from the defense’s categorization of the crime. according to the associated press, golb’s lawyer, ronald kuby said:

“It’s usually very difficult to fit this into a (criminal) legal pigeonhole,”

the problem is: it’s not. again, golb is not being tried for the libel and defamation he spewed online against me and other scholars like risa levitt kohn, jodi magness, william schniedewind, stephen goranson, bart ehrman, david noel freedman, etc. those matters will be taken up in civil court after the conclusion of the criminal trial. golb is being tried for impersonation, identity theft, and aggravated harassment. the new york district attorney’s office rightly limited their charges to only those counts that specifically address criminal attempts to impersonate, harass, and steal the identity of lawrence schiffman, jonathan seidel, and stephen goranson. this means that the defense’s argument that

‘injury to a reputation is a civil matter, not a criminal violation’

is moot, because golb is not being charged for the civil crimes of defamation against me and others, rather, he’s being charged in the specific incidents of impersonation, aggravated harassment, and identity theft in the instance of schiffman, seidel, and goranson. while the defense attempts to blur the line between the civil matters and the criminal ones, the fact remains: it is not very difficult to ‘pigeonhole’ this criminal activity. raphael golb pretended to be lawrence schiffman in order to bring specific harm to him. in doing so, he impersonated him. impersonation is a crime. golb harassed schiffman in a most aggravated manner by writing a post using the alias ‘peter kaufman’ accusing dr. schiffman of plagiarizing his father, norman golb. (note: the nowpublic post by ‘peter kaufman’ has been removed by nowpublic, but that which raphael golb said about lawrence schiffman still exists in a cached web archive, and several blog posts, including this one, still remain online. coincidentally, golb used the alias ‘larryschiffman’ to post this blog.) aggravated harassment is a crime. raphael golb sent emails as lawrence schiffman, after signing up for email accounts and blog addresses in the name of lawrence schiffman. forgery is a crime. taking out an email address (lawrence.schiffman@gmail.com) and writing in the first person to confess to something and blogging in the name of lawrence schiffman is a crime. there is nothing ‘difficult’ about it.

======

golb’s lawyer argued:

the e-mail messages were transparent parodies, and that in any event, injury to a reputation is a civil matter, not a criminal violation.

this is simply not true. there is no expectation of parody or satire with raphael golb. in the case of known satirists like stephen colbert, or known parodists like saturday night live, there is an expectation of parody or satire. that is, it can be argued that this speech is protected under the first amendment right to freedom of speech. however, with the case of raphael golb, this is not the case. in fact, the opposite is true. raphael golb was not claiming parody, but was actively attempting to disguise his identity while making false, often harmful accusations against his father’s perceived opponents by hiding behind multiple aliases. at no point was there ever an expectation or acknowledgement of parody or satire. raphael golb attempted nothing less than to defame and professionally harm the careers of his father’s perceived rivals, and ultimately acted criminally by impersonating one of them, lawrence schiffman, in order to do so.

it is important to remember that the schiffman incident was not an isolated incident. rather, it was the criminal culmination of a pattern of behavior involving a well-organized, premeditated, campaign of deceit and influence that escalated from comments on message boards and discussion forums, comments on internet news items, nowpublic articles, blogs, infiltration of wikipedia pages, emails to a graduate student’s faculty questioning whether he should he should receive his degree, written letters to board members of museums, emails to journalists encouraging them to write about golb and the ‘qumran controversy,’ and ultimately the criminal impersonation of lawrence schiffman, which included forged letters to his graduate students and colleagues.

this was not parody. it was a one-sided assault on scholars that disagreed with norman golb and the museums that hosted dead sea scrolls exhibitions. his intent was to harm attendance at museum exhibitions and besmirch the reputations of people who had done nothing wrong other than disagree with norman golb’s minority opinions about qumran and the dead sea scrolls.

======

the defense has taken another odd tactic, which demonstrates a lack of faith in their ‘free speech’ defense. according to peltz’ associated press article:

Golb contests sending the e-mails. But whoever did send them was just pulling an “intellectual prank” and expressing ideas protected by free speech rights, said Golb’s lawyer, Ronald Kuby.

golb is attempting to invoke the right of ‘free speech’ while not admitting to making the said ‘speech.’ despite knowing exactly who was immediately responsible for the claims of the ‘charles gadda,’ ‘peter kaufman,’ and other aliases, raphael golb has still not admitted that he was actually the one who sent the emails in schiffman’s name. perhaps this is why golb’s lawyer is attempting to have the statements made by golb at the time of his arrest thrown out. perhaps this is why golb’s lawyer is contesting the search warrant and the search executed on raphael golb’s home: despite all evidence to the contrary (and his father, norman golb’s multiple purported statements essentially confessing that his son is ‘charles gadda’), raphael golb still does not want to admit to sending the emails.

golb’s lawyer, ron kuby, is attempting to invoke a ‘free speech’ defense without admitting to the speech. which begs the question: how confident is raphael golb’s laywer, ron kuby, in his own defense? one would think that if this really were an attempt to argue on behalf of free speech, mr. kuby would say, ‘yes, my client, raphael golb, made these claims, but he is protected by his right to free speech.’ instead, mr. kuby is attempting to argue, ‘this is a case of free speech, but my client does not admit to making the statements (sending the emails) in question.’ kuby undermines the confidence of his own defense by not admitting to his client’s participation in the so-called protected ‘free speech.’

======

ultimately, the central claim made by the defense is nothing more than a red herring (or to be technical in a rhetorical sense, an ignoratio elenchi). according to peltz’ associated press article, golb’s lawyer, ron kuby, stated:

“An attempt to influence a public, academic debate by e-mails and blog postings authored under assumed names cannot be an object of criminal” laws designed to protect people from fraud, threats or physical harm, Kuby wrote in papers filed this week.

this is a red herring. of course, attempting ‘to influence a public, academic debate by e-mails and blog postings’ is not criminal. this is what scholars do. and yes, attempting to influence a scholarly debate using arguments ‘authored under assumed names’ may or may not be ‘an object of criminal laws.’ however, this is not what raphael golb is accused of doing!! raphael golb is accused of intentionally posing as lawrence schiffman and admitting to something he did not do! raphael golb is accused of taking out email addresses in the name of lawrence schiffman and writing to schiffman’s students and colleagues in the first person. engaging in or attempting to influence a public, academic debate is not a crime, but, doing so using the names of known scholars, criminal impersonation, identity theft, aggravated harassment, and forgery certainly is.

raphael golb does not stand accused of attempting ‘to influence a public, academic debate by e-mails and blog postings’. this, and harassment, libel, and defamation caused by his actions are indeed the subject of a civil court, and will be deal with accordingly once the criminal trial is complete.

conclusion

raphael golb’s actions in this criminal case were not an isolated incident, nor were they a prank, satire, parody, or other kind of joke. this was a premeditated, well-coordinated, well-planned, methodical, two-year campaign of defamation, intimidation, and harassment, ultimately ending in impersonation and forgery, perpetuated by raphael golb against those he felt were his father’s opponents. his intent was to harm museum attendance and denigrate the reputations of scholars that disagreed with norman golb.

likewise, arguments that raphael golb had to use pseudonyms in order to protect against academic backlash are unfounded. when rachel elior’s minority theory about qumran and the essenes became public, it was widely refuted, but she suffered no harm to her career or reputation by personally addressing criticism on the internet and in the press. she simply participated in the academic process. this differs greatly from what appears to be golb’s approach, which apparently involved raphael doing the dirty work of attacking his father’s rivals, and norman golb siting back in his endowed chair at the prestigious university of chicago oriental institute, seemingly above the fray, and answering inquiries from media outlets most likely drummed up by his son, raphael.

it appears the entire campaign was designed to denigrate norman golb’s rivals, and keep golb’s name – and his theory – in the news. raphael golb went too far, and broke the law.

this is not about free speech, it’s about getting caught breaking the law.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,065 other followers

%d bloggers like this: