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Judge orders Ceglia to pay Facebook $96,000 more

Paul Ceglia’s lawsuit against Facebook is about to cost him an additional $96,000.

A federal judge has ordered the Allegany County man to reimburse Facebook and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg for money it spent on lawyers, experts and travel.

The ruling, issued Thursday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie G. Foschio, nearly doubles what Ceglia has been ordered to pay in court-approved fees and sanctions since the civil case began two years ago.

The bulk of the money Ceglia is now being ordered to pay stems from his lawyer’s late cancellation of depositions by several of Facebook’s expert witnesses.

“Because the late notice of cancellation was insufficient to allow these experts to avoid travel and lodging expenses, [Ceglia] is responsible for paying these costs," Foschio said in his ruling.

The court-ordered reimbursement is the latest in a series of fees and sanctions Foschio has levied against Ceglia.

Until Thursday, he had been hit with about $98,000, most of it attorney fees claimed by Facebook’s lawyers.

With the additional sum set Friday, Ceglia has been ordered to pay a total of about $194,000.

Ceglia, a Wellsville resident, claims he signed a contract with Zuckerberg in 2003 that entitles him to a stake in the social networking giant.

Zuckerberg acknowledges signing a contract with Ceglia while he was a student at Harvard University but claims the deal had nothing to do with Facebook.

Ceglia’s case against Facebook took a new turn three weeks ago when he was charged in Manhattan federal court with orchestrating a “multibillion-dollar scheme” to defraud the company.