A day after Facebook attorneys revealed what it claimed to be "smoking gun" evidence from Paul Ceglia's computer that he forged a contract purporting half ownership of the social-networking site, the Wellsville native has accused Facebook of planting the document -- and claims that he knew about it all along.
In a rambling email sent to technology website ZDNet.com, Ceglia on Tuesday blasted Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's attorneys and the media for unfair treatment. He also solicited help for his legal defense.
Ceglia was responding to court papers Facebook attorneys filed Monday night. The briefs stated that Ceglia's purported contract "is an outright fabrication," that he doctored an agreement made with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg from a different venture by inserting terms that gave Ceglia half ownership of the company.
Monday night's court filings included an alleged copy of the original contract Ceglia and Zuckerberg signed to work on a street-mapping database called StreetFax. There is no mention of Facebook in the contract.
"We have known about this photoshopped 'image' for some time, and I willingly handed it over to them," Ceglia said in his email to ZDNet.com. "Now they claim it is the original and that there are other files I'm intentionally not handing over, when I gave over their doctored page. It's laughable. They make this stuff up as they go along."
Ceglia has produced another version of the contract that has Facebook added to the deal. He never before has claimed Facebook or Zuckerberg had planted an altered document on his computer.
Ceglia's attorneys, Jeffrey Lake of San Diego and Paul Argentieri of Hornell, will have the chance to pose their client's assertion to U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio at 2 p.m. today.
Ceglia also proclaimed he will prevent Zuckerberg from taking Facebook to the stock market. Industry analysts expect an initial public offering early next year.
"You won't go public Mark," Ceglia said. "You won't IPO, you won't pass go. I won't let you sell this company out from under me, not while I have the power to stop you."
Facebook's attorneys also claimed 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.
"This is the digital equivalent of throwing critical evidence into Lake Erie," the brief read.
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 he and Zuckerberg had struck the deal.