In case you have tuned out on the now-farcical attempt by an upstate New York man named Paul Ceglia to extort some money out of Facebook, here’s the latest:
- Facebook hired forensic analysts to crawl through Ceglia’s computers and analyse the contract and “emails” that he says prove that Mark Zuckerberg sold him half of the company.
- The forensic analysts concluded that the contract and emails were forged and that Ceglia himself was a serial scammer.
- Facebook immediately demanded that Ceglia hand over more computers and thumb drives so they could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the documents were forged
- Ceglia fled to Ireland
- The judge in the case demanded that Ceglia hand over the additional computers and thumb drives
- Ceglia’s (third) lawyer said he had relayed the order to Ceglia and that Ceglia had refused to comply
- Ceglia’s lawyer quit the case, becoming the third Ceglia lawyer to do so. (And it’s worth noting here that Ceglia’s third lawyer was not a prestigious firm like Ceglia’s second lawyer but a sole practitioner in San Diego who recently represented a few California citizens arguing for pot legalization.)
- Ceglia has finally hired a fourth lawyer, who is based in Ohio.
Ceglia’s new lawyer, by the way, whose name is Dean Borland, was just fined $300,000 in an unrelated case for creating Photoshopped child pornography for use as an “expert witness.”
Borland took stock photographs of, for example, a kid eating a hot dog, and made it look like the kid was instead giving someone a blow job. Borland says he did this to prove how easy it was to forge porn. But the kid’s parents freaked, and a judge slapped Borland with a $300,000 fine.
Given this blow to Borland’s reputation, as well as his geographic distance from both New York and California (Lakewood, Ohio), it does not seem far-fetched to conclude that Borland was the only lawyer left in America that Ceglia could find to represent him.
The fact that the Ceglia case is still ongoing at all, by the way, is an outrageous waste of Facebook’s money and time. Based on the evidence Facebook’s forensic investigators turned up, Ceglia should be being investigated for criminal fraud and attempted extortion, and we suspect that the threat of such an investigation is why he has now taken up residence in Ireland.
At some point soon, hopefully, Facebook will be able to get the whole case dismissed. But, for now, it appears the farce will continue for a while.
(For what it’s worth, we were initially open-minded about Ceglia’s complaint, mainly because it seemed too bizarre to be faked and because Mark Zuckerberg’s judgement as an 18 year-old was not always beyond reproach. After Facebook filed its forensic analysis, however, we became convinced that Ceglia’s evidence was just yet another Ceglia fraud. And his behaviour since has certainly not prompted us to reconsider.)