Perhaps Paul Ceglia was over-ambitious when he proposed he had a right to 84 percent of Facebook, as he claimed to have made a contract with Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, that gave him such a slice of the $178 billion dollar pie due to a $1,000 contract supposedly given as a startup cost. Facebook has consistently denied any such contract exists, and the case was dismissed. Now Zuckerberg will testify against Ceglia for faking evidence, a charge he pleaded not guilty to.
This November the Manhattan federal court trying this case charged Ceglia with fabricating the contract, destroying evidence, and creating fake e-mails. Ceglia, for his part, has attempted to subpoena Zuckerburg’s emails and documents from 2003 and 2004, including Zuckerberg’s undergraduate records at Harvard, a wide-sweeping set of documents.
“The requests as drafted are nothing more than a fishing expedition which could reveal information that could be potentially embarrassing to Mr. Zuckerberg and others,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Frey to the judge hoping the judge would reject the request.
And reject it he did. As part of their last legal squabble, 1,460 pages of emails between Ceglia’s company StreetFax.com and Zuckerberg were presented. Ceglia’s lawyer, David Patton, said that being denied even more documents was “fundamentally unfair,” but at Tuesday’s hearing, judge Andrew Carter called the request for Zuckerberg’s mobile phone and email records overly broad.
What is certain is that Zuckerberg will serve as a key witness against Ceglia.
“It’s a witness [Zuckerberg] that the government 100 percent knows it will be calling to trial,” said Christopher Frey at a court hearing, as reported by theguardian.com.
Certainly Alexander Southwell, a lawyer for Zuckerberg, was right on when he said the haughty subpoena was a request that “only seems to harass our clients who are the victim here.” But then, Ceglia may be feeling desperate. He faces up to 20 years in prison if he is proven guilty of mail or wire fraud.