court docs detail raphael golb’s harassment of robert cargill

Raphael Golb

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

on march 5, 2009, raphael golb, son of university of chicago oriental insitute historian norman golb, was arrested on 51 felony and misdemeanor counts of identity theft, forgery, criminal impersonation, aggravated harassment, and the unauthorized use of a computer. golb’s arrest set in motion a bizarre and twisted path towards his trial, complete with motions to dismiss the charges, motions to suppress evidence seized during his arrest, and the use of these very motions to further attack his victims with the verbatim claims made by the very aliases he still refuses to admit being. golb claims his impersonation, forgery, and identity theft amount to nothing more than ‘satire’ and ‘free speech,’ but yet is not confident enough in his own defense to admit that he made the very ‘speech’ in question.

but for many of us, raphael golb’s arrest only marked the latest phase of a three-year old investigation into his identity and activity. the passing of time may have caused many to forget just what the golbs did that led to this point. additionally, many never really knew much of what the golbs were doing furtively, behind the scenes, to harass and intimidate their victims. everyone could read ‘charles gadda’s’ posts on the internet, but because i did not discuss the case publicly prior to golb’s arrest, many are unaware of the actions taken by raphael, joel, and norman golb behind the scenes to damage their victims, including me.

recent filings in the case of the people of the state of new york v. raphael golb have made public some disturbing emails and other communications sent by the golbs to one another detailing how they should harass and intimidate me and effectively “ruin my career.” i knew that some of this was going on, but prior to the hard evidence provided by the new york district attorney’s office in publicly available court documents, i had no idea the extent to which the golbs were determined to damage my career and me personally.

below are some excerpts from a recent court filing detailing emails sent between norman golb’s sons, raphael and joel, detailing their motives and intent to ‘harass and unsettle’ me, and to explicitly damage my career.

Excerpts from

Indictment No. 2721/2009


66. Defendant’s animosity towards victim Dr. Cargill also bears an eerie parallel to the Wise incident. Robert Cargill was working on his Ph.D. when he was the subject of an anonymous smear campaign by the Golb/Gadda aliases that lasted over a year. Much of this smear campaign seemed designed to prevent him from getting his Ph.D. Thus, Dr. Cargill was at a crucial phase in his academic career (working on a Ph.D.), just as Dr. Wise was at a crucial phase in his career some twenty years prior, with respect to tenure. Also, defendant’s harassment of Dr. Cargill included insinuations that he had copied another’s work.

Defendant’s intent to harass Dr. Cargill is evidenced within email communications:

78. The harassment count as to Dr. Cargill differs from the harassment counts as to Drs. Schiffman and Goranson, because the defendant did not impersonate Dr. Cargill. Since the defendant did impersonate Drs. Schiffman and Goranson, it is reasonable to infer that one motivation for the impersonation was to harass them. With respect to defendant’s actions towards Dr. Cargill, email evidence assists in showing the defendant’s intent to harass Dr. Cargill. For example, on January 19, 2008, there is an email discussion between Golb/Gadda alias Robert Dworkin and his brother Joel Golb, about a proposed email to Professor Carter, Chair of the UCLA department in which Robert Cargill and his Ph.D. advisor Dr. Schniedewind worked. Joel Golb takes issue with some proposed language that reads “…my intent in writing to you has not been to harm Mr. Cargill’s academic career prospects”. Joel Golb writes: “Clearly, for all who read this, one of the purposes of Dworkin’s devastating letter will be, precisely, to destroy the career prospects of a really nice guy” [emphasis added].

79. Further discussion regarding a similar proposed email to Professor Carter took place on March 13, 2008. On March 13,2008, Joel Golb writes that he approves of the proposed email, and writes that it “will merely serve to harass and unsettle a bit… ” (emphasis added).

80. On March 15, 2008, in an email between Joel Golb and Golb/Gadda alias Jesse Friedman, about Drs. Cargill and Schniedewind, Joel Golb indicates the possibility that “both their careers may well be ruined.”

81. Multiple emails were indeed sent to Professor Carter from Golb/Gadda aliases complaining about Dr. Cargill and his Ph.D. project. Dr. Cargill’s apparent Christian background is attacked, and he is even accused of copying someone else’s work. On January 18, 2008, and several times thereafter, emails were sent to Professor Carter and multiple other UCLA email accounts from Golb/Gadda alias Don Matthews. On February 8, 2008, and several times thereafter, emails were sent to Professor Carter from Golb/Gadda alias Emily Kaufman, with multiple UCLA employees copied. On February 9, 2008, and at least one time thereafter, emails were sent to Professor Carter from Golb/Gadda alias Steve Frankel, with multiple UCLA employees copied. On March 19, 2008, an email was sent to Professor Carter from Golb/Gadda alias Joshua Reznick, with multiple UCLA employees copied.

82. From the period of June 2007 to June 2009, Golb/Gadda aliases Steve Frankel, Carlo Gadda, Don Matthews, David Kaplan, Emily Kaufman, Jesse Friedman, and Robert Dworkin sent dozens of emails to hundreds of “” recipients, as well as other individuals, all attacking Dr. Cargill. The volume of defendant’s alias creation, and his planning with others, speaks to the deliberate intent in conducting defendant’s operation.

83. Defendant’s pattern of conduct, and surrounding facts, further indicate that defendant’s motives were less than innocent. For example, the campaign surrounding Dr. Schiffman was clearly designed to damage his career based upon the content. The impersonating emails crafted by the defendant even specifically indicated that Dr. Schiffman’s career was “at stake”. Such conduct as to Dr. Schiffman is relevant as to defendant’s intent as to Dr. Cargill.

84. As previously indicated, there is no legal requirement that harassing communication must be made directly to the victim. In fact, it is apparent that this type of harassment, when made indirectly to the victim through dozens of communications with hundreds of the victim’s colleagues, can be more harassing than direct communication with the victim. Defendant knew that these emails would ultimately affect Cargill in a manner designed to harass and alarm him. In fact, sending emails to third parties is more offensive than sending emails directly to Dr. Cargill. If Dr. Cargill received direct harassing emails from any of defendant’s dozens of aliases, he could simply delete the email, and block each successive sock puppet email account. It would be easier for Dr. Cargill to block the email accounts than it would be for the defendant to keep creating new accounts. However, Dr. Cargill cannot block or delete emails sent to dozens or hundreds of his associates. Rather, he is forced to field question after question from others about the negative content of the emails. Notably, this pattern of attack was taking place at a crucial period during Dr. Cargill’s academic career, and it attacked the basis of Dr. Cargill’s Ph.D. project.

85. In sum, the inference from the totality of defendant’s conduct is that the defendant maliciously spread false information with the intent to harass, annoy, alarm, defraud, deceive, and injure.


the above speaks to the specific motive and intent to do harm to me and damage my career. in fact, the intent to do damage is quite explicit. after living through that experience, and after coupling golb’s sons’ activities with the signed letters from the hand of norman golb, it appears that they were all in it together. dr. golb would write formal letters of complaint and appear above the fray, while the sons would attack me relentlessly online using aliases in coordination with norman golb.

having contacted the director of the oriental institute directly, and having corresponded with the general counsel‘s office of the university of chicago about dr. golb’s activities, and with no real action being taken to investigate norman golb’s ethical and professional behavior in this matter, i must assume that the university of chicago has full knowledge of these proceedings, and is tacitly endorsing them. either that, or they are culpable of negligence in this matter, in that they have as of yet taken no action to stop golb, or even to investigate the matter.

again i must ask: is this the kind of behavior tolerated or promoted by the oriental institute? by the university of chicago?

the bigger question is: are the premeditated and well-coordinated deeds of norman golb and his sons actionable in civil court?

12 Responses

  1. it’s despicable behavior to so hate someone’s ideas that you actually set out to destroy their career. despicable.

  2. I suspect that this is all indeed probably actionable in civil court.

  3. 500 pages of defense motions??? Does he have nothing better to do? (oh wait, don’t answer that….)

  4. 65 email accounts??? wow…

  5. I don’t think that Golb should be charged with criminal harassment for trying to attack Dr. Cargill’s work because that is part of scholarship. I don’t think it is right to do it using false names and emails. I think it should have been done using his own name, but his way should not be illegal. The only part that sounds illegal to me is when he pretended to be Dr. Schifman and wrote his students. That might really be harassment.

    It is harassment to send emails against Dr. Cargill, but I think it is a legal kind of harassment because of free speech. I think he said everything in a way that no one could say he was lying about Dr. Cargill, even though he was wrong, like accusing him of anti-semitism just because he is Christian and disagrees with Dr. Golb. No one reading that argument could take that charge seriously.

    I have a neighbor who tells people I am a peeping tom . Some neighbors believe him, even though I didn’t do it. I think this is criminal harassment, but I am not going to do anything about it. He has also threatened to hurt me a few times. I think criminal charges should be for really criminal things like this. The scholarly world doesn’t usually deal with disagreements in such an immature way as Golb is accused of, but I still don’t think most of what he did is criminal harassment, just an immature and bothersome way of disagreeing with certain scholars.

    I am not on his side because I feel that he was wrong if he did it, but not criminally wrong for most of what he is accused of doing.

    Have you seen his latest motion on the internet? I think it was just put up. This is the first one I have actually read through, and it mostly sounds reasonable to me, but I am not a lawyer. I am not convinced about it being ok to impersonate Dr. Schifman, but the rest of it sounds more reasonable.

  6. kenneth,

    i do not think golb is in error when he debates my views or attempts to argue against my work. indeed, that is a part of scholarship. in fact, i encouraged this very criticism of my own work by inviting those who disagree with me to critique me. i invited jodi magness and yuval peleg to critique my book at sbl. methinks it’s fair to say that jodi ripped me in areas where she thought i was mistaken. and yet, she did so professionally, in her own name, and i respect her for that. and we are colleagues (if i may, jodi) even though we disagree about some holes in the ground. we are professional. yuval and i just worked together in israel this past january. we sat over beers and discussed our differing interpretations of qumran. again, there were two real people arguing factual and interpretative differences about qumran.

    but that is not what raphael golb did, nor is it what his father did. they hid behind aliases. they lurked in the shadows. and they sent letters – lots of them – to my ucla faculty, to my ucla deans, to museums and administrators, attempting to make my name into a nuisance to them. they admit via email that they were out to destroy my career. they wanted me out of the field. they attempted to make sure museums did not use my reconstruction videos. norman golb sent hand-signed letters, and the boys would follow up online with anonymous nonsense. together, they attempted to hinder my professional development and damage my name, which in this field is what brings about credibility.

    everyone has the right to anonymous free speech as cowardly as it may be. but using that anonymity to harass, defame, and damage the professional development of one attempting to engage in scholarly pursuits simply because you disagree with their interpretations about some holes in the ground runs the risk not only of potential embarrassment if one is caught doing these things (as has happened to the golbs), but also runs the risk of venturing into the realm of harassment, defamation, and the civil recovery of those damages resulting from these civilly actionable behaviors.

    what is more, when one deliberately uses anonymity for criminal impersonation, forgery, and identity theft, this crosses from civil to criminal activity. let us remember that golb is not on trial for defamation in civil court yet. rather, the ny da’s office limited the charges against golb to those charges stemming form the impersonation of larry schiffman and the aggravated harassment of those of us directly involved in the episode. i’ll deal with the other civil issues at my discretion. right now, the issue is whether or not raphael golb used aliases to impersonate criminally, forge the identity of, harass in an aggravated manner, and steal the identity of larry schiffman. that’s it. the civil case against the golbs and the university of chicago is another matter entirely. right now, this is about the criminal complaint.

    i’m sorry your neighbor thinks you’re a peeping tom.

    bob cargill

  7. […] full extent of the publicly available evidence against golb is available here and here. interestingly, the article did not include some of the answers i gave in response to […]

  8. […] an intellectual debate involving his father, norman golb, by creating multiple aliases to smear publicly and even criminally impersonate scholars that disagreed with his […]

  9. Sorry to get into this so late, but, as an attorney myself, this story fascinates me.

    One thing that people like Kenneth (and I’m sorry to pick on you, Kenneth; nothing personal) do not understand is that “free speech” has many limitations to it; one of which is defamation (another more famous version being yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre when there is no fire, which can cause panic, injuries, and even death).

    The type of “free speech” intended by our Framers was political speech; that which is normally spoken in public fora. What happened to Dr. Cargill is entirely different, so far as I can tell. These people apparently went to great lengths to protect their anonymity, which in and of itself is not all that bad. However, a scheme to use that anonymity/identity stealing to defame someone — the apparent bases of these charges — is generally not considered to fall within the protections of “free speech” protected by the First Amendment. That’s why people are allowed to sue each other for defamation, libel, slander, and other forms of “speech”. You may be able to say it, but there might some unpleasant consequences for doing so depending on the circumstances.

    Truth, of course, is an absolute defense in defamation-type cases. And the limits of when speech is actionable and when it isn’t under the First Amendment can be a very sticky thicket. But, as is apparent in this case, when “free speech” morphs into a conspiracy to really damage someone (I think Dr. Cargill and the others who were damaged here would characterize what happened to them as far, far, more than merely “bothersome”), it could become criminally actionable in some way. And apparently some district attorneys in NY believe that to be so. From what I know so far, it is far from unreasonable to prosecute these guys for what they have done.

    I’d like to see some justice done here. Nobody believes in free speech more than I. However, the myth that “all” speech is automatically free is just that — a myth. Speech of this sort should be punished in my opinion when a man’s livelihood is at stake, and particularly when the one exercising “free speech” doesn’t even have the balls to (a) “correct” Dr. Cargill for his supposed mistakes in research on the same level and in an open forum and (b) take the mask off themselves and at least let him know who is actually doing the speaking against him so he can respond. I guess the laws of New York, and possibly a federal court down the road, will decide whether or not this is protected speech. My own opinion is that it is not under these circumstances.

    Just my opinion. Oh, and just in case anybody thinks I’m just another lock ’em all up prosecutor, I happen to be a criminal defense attorney; 100% of my work is criminal defense and I have never prosecuted anyone ever in my nearly 20-year legal career. What has happened here is just plain wrong, though.

  10. […] court docs detail raphael golb’s harassment of robert cargill (1/29/2010) […]

  11. […] letters to multiple supervisors containing speech that is intended to harass and “destroy the career prospects of a really nice guy” is not criminal harassment, it is difficult to argue that forgery and criminal impersonation […]

  12. […] Golb’s incarceration represents only a modicum of closure to this unfortunate episode in my life, as I was both a victim in this criminal case, as well as one who testified against Dr. Golb […]

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