Judge in Facebook lawsuit orders Ceglia to return from Ireland

Judge in Facebook lawsuit orders Ceglia to return from Ireland

Summary: The court has ordered Paul Ceglia to return from Ireland so that he can provide evidence as part of his legal battle against Facebook.

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Facebook saw another win in court yesterday after a three-hour hearing. Paul Ceglia, a man that claims he owns half of Facebook, has been ordered to return from Ireland to look for USB devices considered to be evidence in the case. Ceglia, who has been living in Galway, Ireland while the case continues, has 30 days to comply with the court's order.

US Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio said Ceglia has failed to comply in providing details as to what happened to the missing evidence and so he must come home to the US to do so. Although he does not have to appear in court, Ceglia does have to look for the missing evidence and submit a declaration about what he's done to find it. If he cannot find the missing evidence he must explain in detail and under oath what happened to it.

Two months ago, Ceglia claimed Facebook violated his privacy by exposing passwords to his Web-based e-mail accounts in a court document filed on September 1 in federal court in Buffalo, New York. The papers were removed from the public file the next day, meaning the login credentials were visible to the public for 12 hours. Court documents showed, however, that Ceglia gave the passwords to Facebook in his own declaration, which he himself did not designate as confidential. Facebook countered by saying that Ceglia and his lawyers are to blame, since the document was not properly labeled.

Three months ago, Facebook charged that Ceglia has been withholding electronic devices from the court. The company asked Foschio to force Ceglia to turn computers, files, and e-mails.

Four months ago, 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.

Facebook said it found the original "authentic contract" between Mark Zuckerberg and Paul Ceglia. Facebook then produced said contract, noting it doesn't even mention Facebook at all. Not only did the social networking giant reportedly find this allegedly genuine contract on Ceglia's computer but on the e-mail servers of a Chicago-based law firm, Sidley Austin as well. Facebook alleges that Ceglia e-mailed the original contract to Sidely Austin back in 2004.

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. As a result, Facebook asked Foschio to overrule that designation; he agreed and ordered Ceglia to hand over documents Facebook says proves he forged the 2003 contract.

As for the "storage devices," Facebook said that forensic data shows evidence of six USB devices, which it argues 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.

In an exclusive interview with ZDNet, Ceglia told me the original "authentic contract" Facebook says it found is really just a Photoshopped image the company planted on his computer. He says he and his lawyers reportedly knew about it for some time and willingly handed it over to Facebook. He told ZDNet that his team will prove the image in question "has no authenticating properties whatsoever."

Ceglia speculates it could have been Zuckerberg himself, or the US law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe that may have done the alleged dirty work. Ceglia called Zuckerberg "an admitted forger and an admitted hacker" and explained that Zuckerberg, or someone representing him, carelessly wrote his home address on the allegedly forged document that he didn't know about or move to until more than a year after the document was supposedly written. He has also claimed Zuckerberg deleted e-mails related to the case.

Last but certainly not least, Ceglia says he has conclusive proof that Zuckerberg is lying. He said that anyone with some legal expertise or technical expertise willing to help "nail him down for good" is welcome to join at PaulsCase.com, which requires registration. Via the PaulsCase wiki, Ceglia is trying to open source his lawsuit.

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 three law firms. Ceglia, who called ZDNet from Ireland, maintains that he has been unfairly painted as a con artist.

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Topics: Legal, Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

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.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

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7 comments
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  • RE: Judge in Facebook lawsuit orders Ceglia to return from Ireland

    Ceglia has said he hired Zuckerberg through a Craigslist ad to write code for a project called Street Fax and paid Zuckerberg $1,000 for coding work
    Zuckerberg stole the code from McKibben son who was going to Harvard.

    THIS IS TRUE: ZUCKERBERG GOT THE CODE FOR STREET FAX FROM A FRIEND AT HARVARD and then used the cod for the stolen idea facebook the winklevoss say that zuckerberg stole there cod FOR FACEBOOK this is bull shit; and the idea facebook was not the winklevoss idea

    MR Michale McKibben you won on "literal infringement" of 11 of 11 claims but you lost the moral hi ground ; your son knows how zuckerberg stole facebook and knows that Aaron Greenspan . Dustin and Chris . Cameron and Taylor Winklevoss . Divya Narendra where in on it. they're liars into the bargain and Harvard is freely following their self-interests like wall street bankers. fb they're thieves masquerading as a legitimate service provider
    Zuckerberg is a spoiled, thieving little brat - just like the people who agree with his behavior

    the IMs are, in fact, authentic The [Redacted Friend's Name]: is David when this article was first published the name was there but was [Redacted buy
    Business Insider Full Authorization to use my name but [Redacted it ???
    newbedave
    • What a load of crap

      @newbedave
      Your post. What a load of crap. Every word of it a lie.

      And you have the audacity to call others theives?
      John Zern
      • RE: Judge in Facebook lawsuit orders Ceglia to return from Ireland

        @John Zern ON APRIL 2003 ZUCKERBERG sign the contract with PAUL CEGLIA to steal the idea facebook
        newbedave
    • RE: Judge in Facebook lawsuit orders Ceglia to return from Ireland

      @newbedave lisa simpson was made a where of the fact that ZUCKERBERG had sign a contract to PAUL CEGLIA years a go 'and was a where that on a VIDEO DISK ZUCKERBERG openly admitted ;saying that facebook was not his idea . PAUL ARGENTIERI has a copy of this video disk and Tony Merchant LAW
      newbedave
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  • Wheres The Truth

    I have being following this story since the start and have seen a lot of evidence on Ceglias side which is not being broadcasted because it is damning to FB. Why isnt the expert views in favour of Ceglia who all agree Ceglia's evidence is authentic? .Lets take this simple fact of email preservation, Ceglia and Zuckerberg used a program called Webmail to email eachother and anyone with any computer knowledge knows that Webmail deletes sent email in order to avoid exceeding storage limits. So according to Ceglia he copied the headers and texts of these emails into word documents in 03-04 in order to not loose them by leaving them in Webmail to be deleted at a later date and put them on floppy discs..comouter forensic expert Jerry Gran after analyzing them says they are consistent with how Ceglia says he copied and saved them.. Ther is much more evidence you just have to look at the facts,, unfortunately the media is refusing to report such facts. Or what about Michael McGowans biased analysis of Ceglias computer, at while ago McGowan outlined a framework on how to find out the authencity of such things, he used them on Ceglias computer but refused to use the same framework when analysing the computers of Zuckerberg, instead he refused to explain vital parts of his analysis about the information collect from Zuckebergs computer at harvard, like dates on emails, whether it was a complete search, whether they were the same computers used by zuckeberg during his time in Harvard. These are all vital information according to McGowans own framework so you must conclude something is being silenced like the true evidence. there is a lot more evidence just search online thats what I do.
    GetYourFactsStraight89
  • so Ceglia didn't &quot;flee&quot;

    Does this now mean that all them stories being published about Ceglia "fleeing" the USA are fabrications? surely if he fled he wouldn't come back straight away after a judge tells him, if he was "Fleeing" then why is he back in america so quickly.I think thiese stories of "fleeing were created to make it look like Ceglia was lying so fled to escape being prosecuted, which is just pure vfiction,, also about the evidence have you looked at his lawyers blog? it contains very strong evidence and statements from experts that agree Ceglias contract and emails are authentic. here is links check it out yourself http://bolandlegal.com/site/the-biased-email-analysis-of-facebooks-computer-forensics-experts
    http://bolandlegal.com/site/ceglia-emails-to-zuckerberg-are-authentic-and-they-are-blockbusters
    Avramfunkle