Paul Ceglia is the guy from upstate New York who, last year, claimed he found an old contract entitling him to half of Facebook. In April, he filed a new complaint, got a new fancy law firm, and some credulous press coverage. Now Facebook has filed a small mountain of evidence with the court, including sworn declarations from many experts detailing Ceglia’s alleged scam — and even from Mark Zuckerberg himself.
Facebook has already said the contract and emails that Ceglia presented were fakes. Now they’ve busted out evidence supporting that claim. In an all-out legal counter-attack, the company has hired digital forensics experts to comb through old Zuckerberg’s old Harvard emails; a linguistics expert who analyzed the writing style of Zuckerberg’s true emails and Ceglia’s “questioned” emails; and private investigators who have pieced together Ceglia’s history of arrests and alleged scams, dating back to 1997.
Included in the filing is a sworn declaration from Zuckerberg himself stating that he didn’t write or receive a single one of the emails in Ceglia’s lawsuit. Zuckerberg exchanged more than 100 emails with Ceglia about a programming project called StreetFax project, but not one of them even mentions Facebook, according to the company’s new filing. And Facebook’s lawyers have backed this up with evidence from forensic experts who crawled through Harvard’s email files. (Which-yes-apparently still hold Zuckerberg’s emails from 2003 and 2004!)
The evidence also includes full texts of Ceglia emails to Zuckerberg. They’re quite different from the ones Ceglia presented as real-in fact, they involve Ceglia basically begging forgiveness from Zuckerberg because he kept failing to pay Zuckerberg.
The intent of this evidence-dump is to get the judge to order an expedited discovery schedule, so that Facebook can quickly access Ceglia’s evidence and prove the contract is a forgery-before Ceglia’s own lawyers even get a chance to touch Facebook’s own documents.
If Ceglia is shown to have forged this document, he could easily end up in jail. Conversely, it’s hard to believe-and that’s understating it-that someone of Zuckerberg’s status would risk his fortune and reputation by lying or misleading the court when the stakes are this high. If Zuckerberg perjured himself, he could go to jail and his reputation would be ruined forever.