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Court papers claim Ceglia faked contract; Facebook lawyers lifted document from computer

Attorneys for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg claim they've found irrefutable evidence Wellsville native Paul Ceglia never had a valid contract to own half of the social-networking juggernaut, and committed fraud by forging a document they've lifted from Ceglia's computer.

In court papers filed Monday night, Zuckerberg's attorneys state Ceglia's purported contract "is an outright fabrication," doctoring an agreement Zuckerberg made with Ceglia on a different venture to include terms that gave Ceglia half ownership of Facebook.

Monday night's filings include an alleged copy -- taken from Ceglia's computer -- of the original contract he and Zuckerberg signed to work on a street-mapping database called StreetFax. There is no mention of Facebook in the contract.

Ceglia has produced another version of the contract that has Facebook added to the deal.

Facebook's attorneys previously declared they had uncovered "smoking-gun evidence" in the case, but the exact nature of their assertion had been redacted in recent court documents.

Monday night's court filings also claim Ceglia destroyed and withheld evidence, including six removable storage devices "containing highly relevant documents" pertaining to his business dealings with Zuckerberg. Facebook's attorneys said Ceglia failed to turn over a document titled "Zuckerberg Contract page1.tif" and a folder entitled "Facebook Files" from removable storage devices.

Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes declined to comment. Ceglia's attorney, Jeffrey Lake, did not return a message left by The Buffalo News.

Ceglia last year filed a lawsuit against Zuckerberg for 50 percent of Facebook, which has been valued at $50 billion.

Ceglia claimed he signed a contract with Zuckerberg in 2003, when Facebook was in the idea stage, for half ownership in exchange for startup funds. Ceglia said it took seven years to file the lawsuit because he forgot about the contract.

email: tgraham@buffnews.com