Academic's son guilty in scrolls row

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The Independent US

A scholar's son has been convicted of using online aliases to harass and discredit his father's detractors in a heated academic debate over the origins of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

A Manhattan jury found Raphael Golb guilty of 30 counts against him, including identity theft, forgery and harassment. He was acquitted of one count of criminal impersonation.

Golb didn't react as he heard the verdict. He said outside court he wasn't surprised by the verdict, because he felt the judge's instructions to the jury were biased. He planned to appeal. Sitting on a bench, he said: "I'm stoic."

Prosecutors said Golb, 50, used fake email accounts and wrote blog posts under assumed names to take his father's side in an obscure but sharp-elbowed scholarly dispute over the scrolls' origins. Golb said the writings amounted to academic whistleblowing and blogosphere banter – not crime.

Golb was convicted of identity theft, harassment and criminal impersonation of Dr Lawrence Schiffman, a longtime rival of his father's whom he claimed plagiarised research and was never punished.

Golb created an account under Dr Schiffman's name and sent messages from it to Dr Schiffman's students and colleagues. They pointed to blog posts about the plagiarism allegation and asked the recipients to help keep it quiet. "This is my career at stake," some of the emails said.

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