US lawyer convicted in Dead Sea Scrolls case

October 1, 2010 00:41

NEW YORK— A scholar's son was convicted Thursday 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 convicted Raphael Golb on Thursday of 30 of 31 counts against him, including identity theft, forgery and harassment. He was acquitted of one count of criminal impersonation.Prosecutors said Golb, a 50-year-old lawyer, used fake e-mail 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 didn't acknowledge crafting the e-mails or blog posts. But his lawyers said the writings amounted to academic whistle-blowing and blogosphere banter — not crime.

The more than 2,000-year-old documents, found in caves in Israel in the 1940s and '50s, contain the earliest known versions of portions of the Hebrew Bible and have provided important insight into the history of Judaism and the beginnings of Christianity.

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