Paul Ceglia-the upstate New Yorker who has sued Facebook, saying he actually owns half of Mark Zuckerberg’s share of the company-still hasn’t handed over all the documents that Facebook wants to see. But in a motion filed late yesterday, Facebook’s lawyers state that they’ve already got “smoking-gun documents” that prove the lawsuit is bogus.
And what is that evidence? We still don’t know, but Facebook’s lawyers seem genuinely eager to put it on the public record. The motion Facebook filed late yesterday is heavily redacted, but it also makes clear that’s at the insistence of Ceglia’s lawyers. Facebook has asked the judge to allow the public filing of an unredacted version.
At this point, Facebook lawyers still can’t describe what the “smoking gun” evidence is, though, because they say Ceglia has improperly labeled all his documents as confidential.
Facebook’s motion [PDF] states: “[Ceglia] 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.”
In the motion, Facebook lawyers ask the court to force Ceglia to hand over the needed documents they still don’t have. They’ve also asked the court to overrule Ceglia’s confidentiality designations so that they can put an unredacted version of the motion on the public record.
Throughout the document, Facebook lawyers make clear-in capital letters-that the redactions exist solely because of Ceglia’s “improper confidentiality designations.” And they also tell us that whatever we’re not seeing, it’s probably pretty juicy.
What did Ceglia give Facebook? He has handed over computers, floppy discs and CD’s, but didn’t identify any of the files on them. Without more guidance, Facebook says it’s just a jumble of documents. But he left something on them by accident, apparently. From the motion:
Thus, rather than produce the [REDACTED] as required by the Order, Ceglia took a wait-and-see approach by making available a collection of computers, floppy disks and thousands of CDs without identifying any of the files or documents stored on them – either not realizing that the [REDACTED] remained embedded in one of the computers, or simply hoping that Defendants would not find it.
While Facebook’s filing is meticulous in redacting what the evidence actually is, we do learn where it’s from-the one hard drive that Ceglia didn’t hand over until (after) the last minute.
The [REDACTED] was recovered from the image of the Seagate hard drive that Ceglia had withheld until July 18 – three days after he swore under oath that it had already been produced.
Facebook lawyers also want to take an additional ink sample from the “purported contract and ‘spec sheet,’” but say that Ceglia’s lawyers have barred further ink collection.
A Facebook spokesman declined to comment. Ceglia’s lawyers didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but declined to comment to a Dow Jones (NSDQ: NWS) reporter earlier today.
Overall, Ceglia’s case is looking sketchier and sketchier. Court documents show that his own attorneys have acknowledged he’s essentially refused to play any part in discovery. And of course Ceglia has said virtually nothing in public since filing his federal complaint back in April. Perhaps most telling of all, Ceglia has left the country-he’s living in Ireland.
Facebook’s Memo in Support of Motion to Compel [PDF]