US Judge Orders Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg to Turn Over Documents

50 percent ownership in Facebook case : US judge asks Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg to hand over all documents to Paul Ceglia.

The criminal case on Paul Ceglia took a unexpected turn today when U.S. District Judge Vernon Broderick ordered Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg to relinquish documents by Monday that were requested by Paul Ceglia’s lawyer, Robert Ross Fogg.

As per the ruling Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg will have to hand over documents and electronic mails to Ceglia’s attorney Fogg.

Paul Ceglia is undergoing a criminal trial for claiming that he owned majority ownership in the social media giant in lieu $1,000  he lent in startup money to Mark Zuckerberg.

With trial listed for hearing on May 4, Ceglia fled after cutting off his electronic ankle bracelet alongwith his wife, two children and dog from their home in Wellsville, 70 miles southeast of Buffalo.

Ceglia’s father told Judge Broderick at a hearing last week that he believed his son might have fled because he believed Facebook and Zuckerberg were working together with prosecutors against him, jeopardizing his chance for a fair trial. The judge said he would not allow a trial to proceed unjustly.

As a part of giving Ceglia a proper trial, the judge has now ordered that Facebook and Zuckerberg hand over all documents related to the case. The documents requested by Ceglia’s attorney include all electronic communications Zuckerberg had about a Ceglia contract during an 18-month stretch beginning in 2003.

Opposing the move, the federal prosecutors urged Broderick not to force Facebook and Zuckerberg to turn over the documents, saying doing so would “reward Ceglia’s flouting of the judicial process while unreasonably drawing on the resources of the government and the authority of the court.”

The criminal case against Ceglia was brought after a judge threw out his 2010 civil lawsuit claiming that he gave Zuckerberg, a student at Harvard University at the time, $1,000 in startup money in exchange for 50 percent of the future company.

The federal prosecutors allege that Ceglia had altered an unrelated software development contract signed between him and Zuckerberg in 2003 and forged it in such a way that it was made to appear, Zuckerberg promised him 50 percent share in Facebook.

Zuckerberg’s lawyers argued that, Zuckerberg did not hit upon the idea of developing Facebook until months after he responded to Ceglia’s online help-wanted ad and signed a contract agreeing to create some software for him.

Neither Facebook and Zuckerberg’s lawyers commented on the judge’s latest order nor did the government prosecutors while Ceglia’s attorney, Fogg said that he would “continue to fight for Paul, even in his absence, with the same vigor and fortitude and in a sense — more determined than ever.”

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