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Paul Ceglia loses another lawyer in Facebook spat

Alleged half-owner of social network WLTM loyal ambulance-chasers

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A firewood salesman who is locked in a legal spat with Facebook in a dispute over ownership of the dominant social network has lost another lawyer working on his case.

Paul Ceglia reportedly instructed his now erstwhile lawyer Jeffery Lake "not to comply" with a court order issued by a judge in August.

Lake, who has withdrawn from the case, had been told to hand over details of email accounts and passwords relating to a revised complaint Ceglia issued against Facebook supremo Mark Zuckerberg in April this year.

Ceglia, who is understood to be living in Ireland, claimed in his court filing to have evidence that showed he was entitled to ownership of half of the social network site.

He alleges in the suit that he is in possession of email exchanges with Zuckerberg during which the two men discussed the terms of a contract from 2003 and also talked about early development of the site, originally dubbed "The Face Book".

The Facebook boss has repeatedly labelled Ceglia a fraudster and his company recently claimed the lawsuit was based on a "doctored contract and fabricated evidence".

This is now the third time Ceglia has sought legal counsel in his dispute with Zuckerberg. After big name legal outfit DLA Piper withdrew from the case, it was confirmed in June that Ceglia was being represented by San Diego attorney Jeff Lake.

According to Reuters, Lake declined to provide an explanation as to why he had quit the case. Meanwhile, Ceglia is said to be in the "final stages" of replacing his main lawyer.

Lake's withdrawal followed a request from Facebook to US Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio in Buffalo, New York, to consider whether Ceglia should be punished for his failure to comply with the 18 August court order.

The case continues. ®

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