A man who claims he owns half the social network Facebook was fined $5,000 by a federal judge for not providing information related to a case he filed against founder Mark Zuckerberg, the New York Times Bits blog reported Wednesday.
Paul Ceglia was held in contempt of court for not disclosing his e-mails to a judge in Buffalo, N.Y., and Ceglia must also pay some Facebook court fees. This isn't the first time people have said they helped found Facebook, but Ceglia somehow never decided he was an owner until 2010, when he filed the lawsuit against Zuckerberg. The reason he waited so long, he says, is because he had a signed contract with Zuckerberg from 2003 that he had lost and then eventually found.
Ceglia did work with Zuckerberg in 2003, and Ceglia paid him $1,000 for some programming work. Ceglia then claims he gave Zuckerberg another $1,000, and that Zuckerberg gave him a 50 percent share in a new project called The Face Book. That contract is in a safe-deposit box, Ceglia said through his lawyer. Facebook's lawyers countered that the e-mails Ceglia was hiding contain the actual contract, and that he didn't want them to be seen because of it.
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's lawyers said in court documents in 2011.
Ceglia was ordered to give Facebook access to all of his e-mails, and he apparently told his lawyers not to comply that led to his being held in contempt. Facebook's lawyers told the Times they would file to dismiss the case when the discovery phase ends.
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