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from the L.A. Times

Facebook alleges 'shakedown,' wants Paul Ceglia lawsuit dismissed

Facebook is looking to write the final chapter in a long-running legal dispute as the social networking giant prepares for a $100-billion initial public offering next year.

Facebook plans to ask a federal judge in January to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Paul Ceglia, a New York man who contends he's entitled to half of Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg's multibillion-dollar stake in Facebook.

Calling the lawsuit a "shakedown," Facebook said it has evidence the alleged 2003 partnership agreement Ceglia produced was faked two years ago, according to the Buffalo News.

"Since Day One, this case has been about pressuring us into writing a check and from Day One, we've said that's not going to happen," Orin Snyder, a lawyer for Facebook, said during a four-hour contentious federal court hearing Tuesday, the newspaper reported. 

Dean Boland, one of Ceglia's lawyers, accused Facebook's lawyers of damaging the agreement and causing it to turn yellow, which could make some potential jurors question its authenticity. Snyder retorted that Ceglia yellowed the document in an effort to make it appear older.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie G. Foschio did not say how he would rule on a motion to dismiss, but suggested Facebook give Ceglia more time to question its experts.

"You have to put yourself in the court's shoes," Foschio said. "It's an unusual case."


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Paul Ceglia seeks Mark Zuckerberg sanctions

Facebook claimant Paul Ceglia gets new lawyer

-- Jessica Guynn

Photo: Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg in October 2007. Credit: David M. Barreda / San Jose Mercury News

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