Mark Zuckerberg’s ex-client (or boss) said previously that he should own half of Facebook based on what turned out to be a fake contract – he obviously lost the case. Now Mr. Zuckerberg, the controlling shareholder of the social media empire, is striking back to protect his legacy.
Paul Ceglia filed a case with the US Federal Court demanding 50% of Facebook’s ownership sometime ago based on a contract Mark Zuckerberg allegedly signed with Ceglia when he was a freshmen at Harvard University. The case was eventually dismissed by the courts and Ceglia was slapped with a count of forgery in return. This was due to the submitted contract that was deemed doctored by US District Judge Andrew Carter.
Zuckerberg was coding under Ceglia for his startup, StreetFax.com back in 2003. This was done under the doctored contract, which stated the demand for 50% ownership of Facebook. Facebook’s defense attorney Alexander Southwell argued that StreetFax.com had nothing to do with Facebook in any respect.
Ceglia has yet to plead guilty on the forgery charges and he will be going on trial in this November.
In his defense, Ceglia has requested for Zuckerberg’s presence, as well as communications in his mobile phone, email accounts, bank records. He even requested for Zuckerberg’s disciplinary records in Harvard for unauthorized computer use and student privacy violations in 2003 and 2004.
Southwell made a request to Judge Carter for the denial of submission as all of the required documents have already been provided in his previous case – Southwell implies that the request is a direct attempt to harass Zuckerberg. This was agreed by Judge Carter and the document request was rejected.
Ceglia’s lawyer, David Patton then argued that the denial of the request is fundamentally unfair as the communications contained critical evidence to the ownership claims.
If Ceglia is convicted, he may have to face a jail term of up to 20 years as stated by Bloomberg.