Facebook: Ceglia's contract doesn't even mention Facebook

Summary:Facebook has produced what it says is the "authentic contract" between Mark Zuckerberg and Paul Ceglia, and notes that it doesn't even mention Facebook.

Facebook recently said it found the original "authentic contract" that proves Paul Ceglia is a fraud. Ceglia is using the 2003 contract between him and Mark Zuckerberg to claim that he owns half of the company. Facebook produced the original "authentic contract" on Monday as Exhibit A (PDF, via Wired) and notes it doesn't mention Facebook at all. As a result, the company argues Ceglia's evidence is an "outright fabrication" and means that his lawsuit seeking half-ownership of the social networking giant should be tossed immediately.

Last week, Facebook said it found "smoking-gun evidence that the purported contract at the heart of this case is a fabrication." When Facebook's lawyers asked for a resubmittal of a document to the court due to improper redaction, it turned out the blacked out text referred to an "authentic contract" and "storage devices" that Facebook says Ceglia is intentionally hiding from the company, in violation of a court order.

Originally, Ceglia's lawyers said the "authentic contract" is shielded from use in the lawsuit because it is designated as "confidential" under the rules of an agreement between the two parties. Facebook then asked Judge Leslie Foschio of the US District Court in New York City to overrule that designation. Foschio agreed and ordered Paul Ceglia to hand over documents Facebook says proves he forged the 2003 contract.

As for the "storage devices," Facebook now says that forensic data shows evidence of six USB devices, which were likely used to modify the authentic contract. The company's lawyers say at least one of those devices includes a folder called "Facebook Files" and an image called "Zuckerberg Contract page1.tif." Facebook believes that image is the page of the contract that was forged to include mention of an investment in the social network.

Facebook acknowledges that Ceglia hired Zuckerberg to work for his StreetFax company in April 2003 while Zuckerberg was a freshman at Harvard. Ceglia first legally attacked Facebook in July 2010, saying the contract also included $1,000 initial funding for Facebook, and that he's entitled to more than half of the social networking giant. That last part Facebook is obviously disputing.

Facebook insists Ceglia is a known con artist. Since he first filed suit, Ceglia has been dropped by at least four law firms. He is now reportedly living in Galway, Ireland, but the lawsuit is continuing.

See also:

Topics: Social Enterprise

About

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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