August 16, 2011

New Evidence Against Ceglia’s Facebook Lawsuit

Mark Zuckerberg's attorneys say they have found new evidence on a New York man's computer proving he made up his claim that he signed with the Facebook founder in 2003 to make him part owner of the social network.

Facebook attorney Orin Snyder said Paul Ceglia has not complied with a judge's order to hand over certain electronic documents and that he has improperly classified others as confidential.

"He does not want the public to know what was discovered on his computers because it includes smoking-gun documents that conclusively establish that he fabricated the purported contract and that this entire lawsuit is a fraud and a lie," Snyder wrote in a statement.

Ceglia's attorneys complained that the Facebook lawyers have not given them 175 relevant emails from Zuckerberg's old Harvard University account or a court-ordered sampling of his handwriting from 2003.

Zuckerberg's "willing refusal to comply with the obligations imposed on him by the court's order can only be characterized as an obstructive delay tactic," attorneys Jeffrey Lake and Paul Argentieri wrote in a court filing.

Ceglia says he and Zuckerberg met and signed a two-page agreement in the lobby of a Boston hotel on April 28, 2003.  The founder of Facebook allegedly responded to a Craigslist help-wanted ad for work on a street-mapping database called StreetFax that Ceglia was creating.

The lawsuit says the contract shows that Ceglia paid Zuckerberg $1,000 to work on the project and gave him another $1,000 after Zuckerberg told him about his idea to create Facebook.

Ceglia claims in court documents that he was suppose to get half the business if it got off the ground.  He attached a series of email exchanges in the court documents that proved the arrangement.

However, Facebook lawyers accused Ceglia of altering the original street-mapping agreement to insert references to Facebook and fabricating the emails altogether.

They have countered with emails files from Harvard's server that they say show Zuckerberg and Ceglia discussing StreetFax but not Facebook.

Ceglia first filed his lawsuit in 2010, which was six years after Facebook's launch.  The social network now claims 750 million users and an estimated worth of about $50 billion.

According to the new court filing, "a painstaking forensic analysis" of Ceglia's computers revealed embedded electronic data that proves the contract is a fake.

The court motion said Ceglia has also hindered forensics experts' efforts to fully test and date the ink on the contract by limiting the amount of ink they can collect.

The lawyers are schedule to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio in Buffalo on Wednesday.

Court filings showed that even before gaining court-ordered access to the original contract, Facebook experts who examined a photocopied version had determined it was doctored.

Ceglia says in a court filing that "Zuckerberg's statements about our agreement are false" and that the contract is genuine.

He said he drafted the "work-for-hire" contract by cutting and pasting different forms and then printed it out for his 2003 meeting with Zuckerberg.

A Facebook private investigator looked into Ceglia's past and also found that he and his wife were accused of defrauding customers of their wood pallet business in 2009 by accepting upfront payment for pellets they never delivered.


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