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Facebook Strikes Back Against Man Who Claims He Owns Half the Company

Facebook files today for legal proof from Paul Ceglia, who claims he signed a contract with Mark Zuckerberg in 2003 for half the company.

Facebook is getting serious about a lawsuit that initially seemed like a joke.

The company filed Thursday for an expedited discovery in the case against Paul Ceglia, who claims he holds a major stake in the company based on a contract he allegedly signed with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2003, according to TechCrunch. They want him to immediately produce emails and the contract he said he signed with Zuckerberg in 2003, the year before Facebook was created.

Ceglia claims he hired then-Harvard University student Zuckerberg that year to do work on a website, StreetFax.com, a database with information about street intersections. As part of the deal, he alleges that he agreed to foot $1,000 for the development of a “facebook” site.

Ceglia has already produced more than a dozen emails, which he says are between him and Zuckerberg from 2003-04, and has hired a representative from DLA Piper.

But in attempts to prove that Ceglia’s claim is fraudulent, Facebook hired the private investigative firm, Kroll Associates. Its findings? Ceglia’s not-so-clean past includes many land scams in New York and Florida. He furthermore was the mastermind of a “wood pellet scam,” where he would not deliver the wood pellets he sold.

The company is also being represented by Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher LLP, which is pointing to Ceglia’s run-ins with the law and inspecting “every computer” in his control.

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