After just three weeks of combing through Paul Ceglia’s electronic documents, Facebook says it has found the “smoking gun” that proves the upstate New Yorker’s claim to half of Facebook is bogus in a case that has stretched over a year: the original contract between one Mark Zuckerberg, a Harvard student looking for spare cash in 2003, and Mr. Ceglia, who enlisted his services via Craigslist for the photo evidence site StreetFax.com. Mr. Ceglia claims the contract proves he gave Mr. Zuckerberg the initial $1,000 investment for The Facebook; Team Zuckerberg says The Facebook wasn’t even a germ of an idea at the time.
Facebook also says Mr. Ceglia is withholding more evidence–in the form of “storage devices”–that he was ordered to turn over to them for expedited discovery, according to a Facebook filing snatched by Wired before it was later redacted to omit mentions of the “smoking gun” contract and missing storage devices. (Slip-up? Or shrewd media ploy? You be the judge.) Facebook can’t submit the contract to the court yet, because Mr. Ceglia’s lawyers are saying it’s confidential.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ceglia has taken off for Ireland, where he lived for six years after second grade, Facebook’s lawyers say. The question is, will he return in time for his August 17 court date?