— Javelin Enterprises (@JavelinEnt) July 23, 2014
Mark Zuckerberg will testify at the trial of Paul Ceglia, the man who is accused of forging documents to prove he owned a large percentage of Facebook. Here’s what you need to know about Ceglia’s forgery case.
1. Mark Zuckerberg Will Testify at the Trial
Paul Ceglia’s forgery trial is scheduled to begin November 27. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will testify at the trial. According to the Guardian, Zuckerberg will be a “key witness” at the trial.
The forgery charges against Ceglia stem from a 2010 civil suit. In that original suit, Ceglia argued that he was a majority owner of Facebook, and produced a document that was supposedly from April 2003. This document stated that Ceglia owned 50 percent of Facebook, due to his work on the design of the site.
Additionally, the Guardian noted, the contract entitled Ceglia to a further 1 percent stake in the site for each day that passed after the site was supposed to go live. That meant Ceglia would have owned 84 percent of Facebook. At the time of the civil suit in 2010, Ceglia’s stake in Facebook would have been about $5.46 billion.
Check out the video above from the Wall Street Journal to get more background info about the conflict between Paul Ceglia and Facebook.
However, in 2012, Ceglia was charged with forging documents, including the Facebook contract and his email correspondence with Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg denies signing over a stake in Facebook. Businessweek notes:
“Lisa Simpson, a lawyer for Facebook, said at a court hearing…that Zuckerberg did sign some contract with Ceglia. What Zuckerberg didn’t do, she added, is sign over an interest in Facebook to Ceglia. Facebook argued in court papers that Zuckerberg couldn’t have given Ceglia a share of a project he didn’t conceive of until a year later.”
You can read Facebook’s response to Ceglia’s civil suit in the document below, which states that Ceglia “concealed and apparently destroyed critical evidence”:
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2. Paul Ceglia Was Charged With Grand Larceny
Above, you can see the U.S. Attorney’s complaint against Paul Ceglia.
In 2009, Ceglia was charged with multiple counts of grand larceny while running a wood pellet business. Ceglia was operating a business called Allegany Pellets, LLC in New York state. Ceglia’s company was accused of taking at least $200,000 from their customers for presage orders of wood pellets. When the company failed to deliver the pellets, Ceglia did not immediately return the money to his customers.
3. Paul Ceglia Was Arrested for Drug Possession
According to his Cruncbase profile, Ceglia was once arrested on drug charges. Back in March of 1997, Ceglia pled guilty to felony possession of “magic mushrooms.” More properly known as psilocybin, Ceglia had 400 grams of the substance in his possession.
According to the website How Stuff Works, that amount of psilocybin would be enough to get quite a few people high:
“Mushrooms are generally sold in the U.S. in eighths, meaning one-eighth of an ounce (3.5 grams), which usually costs around $20. The effects of magic mushrooms will always vary from person to person in addition to from mushroom to mushroom…
In general, people new to taking mushrooms are advised to start with 1 gram of dried mushrooms.”
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4. Paul Ceglia Was Charged With Trespassing
As you can see in the court document above, Ceglia was arrested and charged with trespassing in Polk County Florida. This event, which took place in 2005, is believed by some to be linked to the River Ranch land scams. The documents show that Ceglia paid a fine of $265.50.
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5. Ceglia & Zuckerberg First Met Through Craiglist
Fortune writes that Ceglia first met Zuckerberg when the former placed an ad on Craigslist. Ceglia was looking for a programmer to help him develop a website called StreetFax.com. Zuckerberg responded to the ad, and Ceglia paid him $1,000 for his services.
Fortune explains what happened next:
“More than a year after Ceglia sued Zuckerberg and Facebook, a judge in Buffalo—against Ceglia’s wishes—allowed the social network’s lawyers to run forensic tests on Ceglia’s computer, hard drive, and electronic media. The search turned up the actual contract between Ceglia and Zuckerberg, which didn’t mention Facebook at all. It also detected digital fingerprints left by ‘six USB or other removable storage devices’ that Facebook’s lawyers said contained relevant documents, like one titled ‘Zuckerberg Contract page1.tif’ and a folder labeled ‘Facebook Files.’
Facebook claimed that the documents were part of a trail of evidence pointing to Ceglia’s attempts to fabricate a contract in which Zuckerberg allotted him a stake in an infant Facebook.”
More details are expected to come to light in November, when Zuckerberg testifies at Ceglia’s trial.