June 2, 2011

Zuckerberg Claims New York Man Forged Contract

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said an alleged contract and emails that a New York man says entitle him to a huge stake in the social network are forgeries.

He has declared under oath that he neither signed the alleged contract with Paul Ceglia, nor wrote or received any related emails.

He asked a federal judge to order Ceglia to immediately turn over the alleged original contract and emails, and for permission to inspect Ceglia's computers as well.

"Zuckerberg and Ceglia never discussed Facebook and they never signed a contract concerning Facebook," the court filing said. "The contract is a cut-and-paste job, the emails are complete fabrications, and this entire lawsuit is a fraud."

Thursday's filing escalates the stakes as Ceglia, a wood pellet salesman from Wellsville, New York, tried to prove he contracted in 2003 for 50 percent of Zuckerberg's interest in what became Facebook.

Zuckerberg said he hopes to use forensic testing on Ceglia's documentation. 

"When this testing confirms that all of these documents are forgeries, this lawsuit will end," he said in a court filing.

Ceglia sued Zuckerberg last July, saying he made a contact with him or an 84 percent Facebook stake.

Ceglia filed a complaint that discussed the alleged contract and emails from 2003 and 2004 when Zuckerberg was a student at Harvard University.

He said in an email in 2004 that Zuckerberg was said to have resisted a clause that could have given Ceglia a stake greater than 80 percent, and instead suggested "that we officially return to 50/50 ownership."

Zuckerberg said forensic examiners reviewed his Harvard email account and found none of the alleged emails.

He also called Ceglia allegedly forgetting about the contract for seven years "incredible on its face," and recounted his prior run-ins with law enforcement.

The case is Ceglia v. Zuckerberg et al, U.S. District Court, Western District of New York, No. 10-00569.


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