Facebook Faceoff

Paul Ceglia’s at It Again, Claiming His Constitutional Rights Are Being Violated

Mr. Ceglia. (facebook.com)

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.  Read More

SMH

Don’t Half-Ass Your Fraudulent Documents if You’re Gonna Sue Facebook

Mr. Ceglia. (facebook.com)

Paul Ceglia’s lawsuit claiming partial ownership of Facebook is based, in part, on a purported contract between Mr. Ceglia and Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook’s lawyers have said time and again that Mr. Ceglia’s evidence was little more than forgery, and it seems the federal government concurs. In his complaint,  Postal Inspector Douglas Veatch suggests that Mr. Ceglia took an unrelated contract with Mr. Zuckerberg and simply replaced the first page with the supposed smoking gun.

But what surprised us was just how (allegedly!) sloppy his cut-and-paste job was.

Here’s what Inspector Veatch had to say: Read More

Facebook Faceoff

U.S. Attorney Arrests Paul Ceglia for Multibillion-Dollar Scheme to Defraud Facebook

Illustration by David Saracino.

For years, Facebook’s lawyers have been arguing that Paul Ceglia’s claim to at least half of Facebook was baseless. Even federal judges have been moved to strong language by Mr. Ceglia’s lawsuit, which offered up a Microsoft Word document of cut-and-pasted emails between him and Mark Zuckerberg as proof that he helped fund Mr. Zuckerberg’s work in the early days of development and was therefore entitled to a share of Facebook.

Today, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has come out with a surprising complaint that screams “Team Zuck.” In the complaint, the U.S. Attorney’s office has charged Mr. Ceglia with an attempt to con Facebook to the tune of several billion dollars. Mr. Ceglia, 39, was arrested in Wellsville, N.Y., this morning on one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Read More

Side-Thorns

Judge Moved to ‘Strong Language’ By Paul Ceglia’s Attempts to Stall the Facebook Lawsuit

Mr. Ceglia

Paul Ceglia sure has a talent for pissing people off. The latest: Federal Magistrate Leslie G. Foschio, who CNET says “sometimes used strong language” to explain why he dismissed five motions filed by Mr. Ceglia’s ever-evolving legal team.

The judge also gave Mr. Ceglia 10 days to convince him that Mr. Ceglia’s attempts to delay proceeding wouldn’t require further sanctions. (Mr. Ceglia was already ordered to reimburse Facebook more than $75,000 in legal fees back in February.) Read More

Facebook Faceoff

Facebook Still Hasn’t Caved Into Paying Paul Ceglia Off

Mr. Ceglia. (facebook.com)

Paul Ceglia’s side won a small legal victory in court yesterday when a judge ruled that the former wood pellet salesman and Internet entrepreneur has the right to limited discovery against Facebook in the context of a motion to dismiss. Mr. Ceglia filed a lawsuit against Facebook a year and eight months ago, claiming ownership of half the company. Facebook filed the motion to dismiss at long last, supposedly waiting until it was an absolute slam dunk (and probably hoping to exhaust Mr. Ceglia’s resources).

But after burning through a series of legal teams, Mr. Ceglia just picked up some legit lawyers with a track record of winning victories against corporations: Milberg LLP, which took on the case in a fairly transparent attempt to shake down the social network for a payoff before its imminent public offering. Read More

Side-Thorns

Paul Ceglia, Man Suing Facebook, Asks Judge for Time to Dig Up More on Zuck

Illustration by David Saracino.

A hearing is scheduled for today in the case of Paul Ceglia vs. Mark Elliot Zuckerberg and Facebook Inc., in which the deck seemed stacked against the hapless schemer who claims to own half the company based on an old contract. Mr. Ceglia’s profesh new legal team, which came on in the eleventh hour of a year-long case after several legal teams had departed, has asked the judge to let Mr. Ceglia continue with discovery while the court decides on Facebook’s motion to dismiss.

Mr. Ceglia’s legal team is particularly fond of the word “jury.”

“We have made a preliminary review of Facebook’s Motion, which attempts to have this matter ended before Facebook has to provide any discovery and before going to a jury,” Mr. Ceglia’s lawyers said in a statement. “Mr. Ceglia deserves his day in court, where the jury will resolve this dispute over the ownership of Facebook.” Read More

Side-Thorns

Paul Ceglia, Man Suing Facebook, Gets Favorable Ruling from Judge and Killer New Legal Team

Mr. Ceglia. (facebook.com)

Like many, we’d written off Paul Ceglia, the upstate New Yorker suing Mark Zuckerberg for a 50 percent ownership stake in Facebook.

He’s burned through so many legal teams that we’ve lost count. He made off for Ireland more than six months ago, shirking his court appearances. And, as one source put it, he may be “a nice guy, but prone to exaggeration.”

But now a reputable law firm with a track record of wins against major corporations has given Mr. Ceglia its vote of confidence—confidence that there is at least enough evidence to shake down Facebook for a tidy settlement as the company prepares for its IPO. Read More