Federal judge dismisses Ceglia case against Facebook
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[March 26, 2014]
(Reuters) — A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by New York
businessman Paul Ceglia against Facebook Inc and its founder Mark
Zuckerberg, adopting findings by a magistrate judge that a purported
contract entitling him to an ownership stake in the company was
fake, according to court documents.
Ceglia's 2010 lawsuit against Facebook and Zuckerberg underlay a
subsequent federal prosecution in Manhattan, in which Ceglia was
accused of forging a 2003 contract with Zuckerberg that supposedly
entitled him to a part-ownership interest in the social networking
Facebook argued that the only contract between the two men was
related to Ceglia's company, StreetFax.com, and accused Ceglia of
faking various documents as part of his lawsuit. Zuckerberg had
previously done some programming work for StreetFax.com.
U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara in Buffalo, New York, on Tuesday
dismissed Ceglia's lawsuit, on the grounds that the contract was a
"fabrication" and alternatively due to evidence spoliation.
"Today's ruling vindicates what we have said from the outset: this
case is a fraud," Colin Stretch, Facebook's general counsel told
Reuters in an e-mail.
The judge in a separate ruling Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit by Ceglia
seeking to prevent Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara from
prosecuting him over conduct in the lawsuit over the Facebook
The decision followed a ruling earlier this month by a federal judge
in Manhattan refusing to dismiss an indictment charging Ceglia with
mail and wire fraud.
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Civil lawyers and criminal defense lawyers for Ceglia were not
available for comment.
The civil case is Ceglia v. Zuckerberg et al, U.S. District Court,
Western District of New York, No. 10-00569.
The criminal case is U.S. v. Ceglia, U.S. District Court, Southern
District of New York, No 12-cr-00876.
(Reporting by Rohit T. K. and Narottam Medhora in Bangalore;
additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel and Nate Raymond; editing
by Kenneth Maxwell)
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