Facebook has fired a fresh legal challenge at a man claiming to own half the company, in a bid to force him to submit full evidence or drop his case.
Convicted fraudster Paul Ceglia is suing for half the value of Facebook based on a contract allegedly signed with chief executive Mark Zuckerberg in 2003.
Zuckerberg has now given sworn testimony that he never discussed creating a social networking site called thefacebook.com with Ceglia, much less signed any contract.
"There is considerable evidence that Ceglia is perpetrating a fraud on the court," the new filing states. "Forcing defendants to endure months of burdensome discovery based on Ceglia's fraudulent claims would be a manifest injustice."
Ceglia has already obtained a court order restraining Facebook's financial assets until the case is resolved.
Facebook is widely expected to go public this year, especially after the success of LinkedIn's IPO, and is keen to get this matter settled quickly.
Zuckerberg admits to working with Ceglia on a database of traffic locations called StreetFax, but insists that this was the extent of the relationship.
A full retrieval from Zuckerberg's Harvard email account has turned up 175 messages relating to the StreetFax project, and none regarding social networking.
An analysis of the two-page contract Ceglia has produced, conducted by Frank Romano, professor emeritus at the Rochester Institute of Technology, raises serious questions about its authenticity, the motion states.
"Based on my professional experience and judgement, my opinion is that Page 1 and Page 2 of [the document] were printed at different times on different printers. This strongly indicates that, at least in part, [the document] is forged," he said.
"It is my conclusion that Page 1 of [the document] is an amateurish forgery."
Further analysis of the document and emails by forensic linguist professor Gerald McMenamin reached a similar conclusion, and Facebook's lawyers have asked that Ceglia cease his claim or submit his evidence.
"The contract is a cut-and-paste job, the emails are complete fabrications, and this entire lawsuit is a fraud," the court documents state.
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