You’ve got to hand it to Paul Ceglia, the man who would own Facebook. Most people, when charged with criminal fraud by the U.S. government, would abandon the civil lawsuit that got them into trouble in the first place. Not Mr. Ceglia. This onetime wood-pellet salesman is continuing his quixotic quest to claim a slice of the social network.
The Wall Street Journal reports that he’s now suing to stop the criminal proceedings against him, accusing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and New York U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of violating his constitutional rights.
This is starting to sound less Law and Order, more junior varsity mock trial.
Yesterday, Mr. Ceglia’s representatives filed a complaint alleging that Misters Holder and Bharara are violating his first amendment rights, claiming they “intentionally, willfully and maliciously interfered with Plaintiff’s enumerated protected right by commencing a federal criminal prosecution.” He’s well within his rights to file a lawsuit, the complaint argues, and the federal government has no right to prosecute him for doing so. (This of course ignores the fact that the case against him revolves around documents that the federal government says are false.)
As the complaint puts it:
Acting in their official capacities and under color of legal authority, with malice aforethought, Defendants commenced a federal criminal proceeding arising out of the proper and good faith filing of Plaintiff’s civil lawsuit against a United States Citizen.
Mr. Ceglia and his representatives take their accusations a step further, playing up the fact that Mr. Bharara previously worked at Gibson Dunn, the firm representing Facebook in Mr. Ceglia’s civil suit.
It’s all in the service of attempting to get the criminal case tossed or, to put it in fancy lawyer talk, Mr. Ceglia “brings the instant action to restrain and enjoin the Government from continuing to violate Plaintiff’s First Amendment rights.”
Say what you will about Mr. Ceglia–the man sure knows how to stick to his story.