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Ceglia fined for failing to show evidence of Facebook ownership

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Paul Ceglia has been fined $5,000 for failing to produce the evidence that he is the owner of half - or 84 per cent as he first claimed - of Facebook.

US Magistrate Judge Leslie G. Foschio ordered Ceglia to pay the fine, and a proportion of Facebook’s hefty legal costs, as a punishment for prevarication over producing the email accounts and passwords that back up his claim to partial ownership of the company. Mark Zuckerberg has admitted working for Ceglia, but calls the claims “an outrageous, brazen fraud.”

"The circumstances under which [Ceglia] attempted to avoid complying establishes a plain lack of respect for the court's order which cannot be countenanced," Foschio said in his ruling, the Buffalo News reports. The judge described Ceglia’s excuses for failing to come up with the goods as “feeble.”

The former wood pellet salesman and convicted felon claims he hired Mark Zuckerberg to develop a web site called The Face Book, in exchange to $1,000 and 50 per cent of the company - minus one per cent for every day work was not completed after a deadline. He later amended his claim to just half of the social networking site, despite Zuck’s tardy work, presumably in an attempt to be more reasonable.

When Ceglia originally made his claim in July 2010 he was backed up by big name legal eagles at DLA Piper, but they dropped their client and he hired San Diego attorneys Jeff and Lake last year. He has now parted ways with them too, and they testified that they had been doing their utmost to get Ceglia to come up with the goods.

"These admissions - made publicly and under oath by Ceglia's own lawyers - confirm the need for severe sanctions," said the judge.

When your own lawyer’s testimony is used as evidence against you then it’s surely time to call a legal case off. It’s a tribute to the insanity of the American legal system that we’re now approaching two years and thousands of billable legal hours on a claim at appears to lack a scintilla of proof, if today’s judgment is anything to go by. ®

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