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Another firm drops out of Ceglia suit Is at least fourth to exit Facebook fight

When the lawyers at Milberg LLP joined Paul Ceglia's legal fight over Facebook, the presence of a large, nationally known firm was seen as a boost for Ceglia.

Three months later, Milberg is dropping out of the high-profile case.

"The revolving door of lawyers is yet additional evidence that this abusive lawsuit is a hoax and a fraud," Orin Snyder, one of Facebook's attorneys, said in a statement Wednesday.

Snyder says Milberg is the ninth law firm to abandon Ceglia, but that number includes firms that never formally appeared in Buffalo federal court on his behalf.

Milberg, by most accounts, is at least the fourth firm to sign on and then withdraw from Ceglia's ownership suit against Facebook and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Ceglia says he and Zuckerberg entered into a contract in 2003 that makes Ceglia part owner of the social networking giant.

Dean Boland, who continues to represent Ceglia, said Milberg's withdrawal from the suit should not be seen as a vote of no confidence.

"They firmly believe in the evidence and the credibility of the case," Boland said. "They simply thought it was best for Paul that they no longer serve as a distraction."

Boland joined the case in October after Ceglia's previous attorney, Jeffrey A. Lake, stepped down.

Lake, a San Diego lawyer, left the case just days after he and another lawyer documented Ceglia's refusal to comply with a court order by U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie G. Foschio. Ceglia was later sanctioned by Foschio.

Lake's withdrawal came just months after he took over for DLA Piper, another national firm, and the local firm of Lippes, Mathias, Wexler, Friedman.

Those two firms followed Ceglia's first legal team, which included the Buffalo law firm of Connors & Vilardo. They left the case in April.

Milberg's withdrawal came just days after Ceglia appealed to the court for access to emails he says he and Zuckerberg exchanged while Zuckerberg was a student at Harvard University in 2003 and 2004.

Boland says the emails were never turned over to Ceglia, even though proof of their existance exists within emails that were turned over by Facebook.

"We don't know when he deleted them," Boland said of Zuckerberg.

"We're asking the court for permission to go in and do our own search."