Facebook Ownership Claims Could be False as Zuckerberg Lawyers Find 'Smoking Gun'

Lawyers for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg have said they have found evidence proving that a man's claims of signing a contract with Zuckerberg, making him part owner of the social networking site are false.

New York native Paul Ceglia filed a suit against Zuckerberg in 2010; his claim, that after the two worked together on a venture of his own development, a street-mapping database called StreetFax, Zuckerberg told him about his idea to make an online yearbook of sorts called "The Face Book."

Ceglia claims that on top of a $1000 fee for developing StreetFax, he gave Zuckerberg another $1000 as capital toward the Facebook venture with the understanding that he would be half-owner if the business took off, and that the two signed a contract on April 28, 2003.

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As evidence, Ceglia submitted a series of email conversations, which he states entail his discussions with Zuckerberg about Facebook and the prospect of his part-ownership.

Zuckerberg's lawyers have now motioned that they've found files on Ceglia's computer that have not been presented to the courts, despite requests, that prove he doctored the documents of the contract he and Zuckerberg signed.

"He does not want the public to know what was discovered on his computers because it includes smoking-gun documents that conclusively establish that he fabricated the purported contract and that this entire lawsuit is a fraud and a lie," Facebook attorney Orin Snyder said in a written statement.

Lawyers for Facebook argue that Ceglia amended the original StreetFax contract to include clauses about Facebook, detailing that upon being granted access to Ceglia's computers, floppy disks and CDs, they discovered that documents and either been altered or faked all together. They also state several emails had been fabricated.

Ceglia claims that he did cut and paste parts of other documents in order to create the "work-for-hire" contract he drafted for Zuckerberg, but that the contract as a whole is complete and original. Ceglia's lawyers have countered that Zuckerberg is also withholding evidence, approximately 175 discussion emails between the two that were taken from Harvard servers that have not been presented to the courts.

Proceedings will continue on Wednesday, presided by U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio in Buffalo, NY. Both lawyer teams will be presenting their motions for the release of withheld documents.

In April 2011, upon learning about the suit, Pastor David Wright, founder and CEO of online Christian TV network urged Christians to pray that the outcome of the case was positive for Zuckerberg, stating that continuing suits against Facebook could hinder its status as a free service and an asset to Christians.

“The more lawsuits against Facebook, legitimate or not, increase the risk of Facebook not remaining a free platform, which could jeopardize the Christian community who are greatly benefiting from this social media giant,” he told The Christian Post.

“If you are one of the millions of Christians who are benefiting from this free platform, you should be praying … It’s an asset worth protecting."

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