Son of Dead Sea Scrolls expert gets two months in jail for impersonating academics

By Reuters
Monday, July 14, 2014 15:11 EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) – A disbarred attorney who admitted assuming the identities of scholars in an Internet debate over the Dead Sea Scrolls was sentenced on Monday to two months in jail for charges including criminal impersonation and forgery, prosecutors said.

Raphael Golb, the son of Dead Sea Scrolls expert Norman Golb, has said the campaign was designed to protest the exclusion of his father’s work from a series of exhibits on the ancient texts, according to court papers.

A New York jury in 2010 convicted Golb on 30 counts, including identity theft, criminal impersonation, forgery and aggravated harassment. He was sentenced to six months in jail and five months’ probation at the time.

An appeals court in May threw out the earlier convictions, including one of aggravated harassment, which was deemed unconstitutional.

Golb’s sentence was reduced in Manhattan Supreme Court on Monday, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said. In addition to jail time, he was ordered to three months’ probation.

Golb sent emails to museum administrators, academics and reporters under pseudonyms and impersonated academics to discredit the work of others who wrote about the Dead Sea Scrolls, according to court papers.

In one instance, he impersonated a New York University professor and sent emails to students and deans at the school indicating that the professor had plagiarized the work of his father, the court documents said.

For the latest round of sentencing, prosecutors requested Golb receive one year in jail and a $1,000 fine, the district attorney’s office said. Golb’s attorney, Ronald Kuby, requested time served.

Kuby was not immediately available to comment on Monday.

Golb, who has remained free during the appeals process, is scheduled to begin his sentence on July 22, the district attorney’s office said.

(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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