Thursday, April 02, 2009

James Ossuary Trial Drags On

Matthew Kalman, writing for the Jerusalem Post:

One of Israel's best-known antiquities dealers said this week he was the innocent victim of a "witch-hunt" initiated by the Antiquities Authority aimed at destroying his career and reputation.

Robert Deutsch, 58, has been on trial at the Jerusalem District Court since September 2005 on six charges of faking and selling priceless antiquities. He is the owner of the Archeological Center, with shops in Tel Aviv and Jaffa, and runs twice-yearly antiquities auctions that attract the world's top collectors of ancient Judaica.

Deutsch's co-defendant, leading antiquities collector Oded Golan, is charged with faking the burial box of Jesus's brother and an inscribed stone attributed to King Jehoash that once adorned the First Temple, plus dozens of smaller items.

As Deutsch took the stand this week for the first time after more than three years in court, 120 witnesses and 8,000 pages of testimony, he said the charges against him were "lies and hallucinations."

The story continues here, and the author does a good job of presenting both sides of the story.  Kalman has a blog dedicated to the trial.

HT: Joe Lauer

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