March 25 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
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 company.
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
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
"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 ownership stake.
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.
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)