The feds have charged Paul Ceglia for allegedly forging "documents in a multibillion-dollar scheme to defraud Facebook Inc and its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, through a lawsuit claiming a huge ownership stake in the Internet company" as reported by Reuters: "Ceglia went through a string of lawyers from prominent firms, including DLA Piper and Milberg, who worked with him on the case, and later withdrew."
At the time Milberg took the case last March the law firm's chair Sanford P. Dumain said "we took a good hard look at all of the information available, including evidence in Mr. Ceglia's favor, and we believe he deserves to have his day in court" as then reported by Bob Van Voris for Bloomberg. Dumain added: "We look forward to examining records from computers that Mr. Zuckerberg used when he was a freshman at Harvard and other records that will help answer questions about the ownership of Facebook."
Apparently at least four firms preceded Milberg in representing Ceglia before withdrawing, and one journalist in March 2012 specifically asked Dumain through a Milberg spokesman about the assertion by Facebook's lawyers at Gibson, Dunn & Grutcher "that Ceglia's 2003 contract is a forgery and that the firm has located the original, which makes no mention of Facebook" as then reported by Alison Franel for Thomson Reuters: "Dumain declined to answer specific questions but said in an email response, 'We look forward to a vigorous discovery process that will enable us to examine all of the relevant information available.'"
Milberg withdrew its representation of Ceglia in May as then reported by Jessica Guynn for the Los Angeles Times:
Dean Boland, an Ohio attorney representing Ceglia, said the Milberg firm was looking to withdraw from the case over disagreements on strategy, but said "they firmly believe in Paul's case as they always have" and are departing on "good terms."
Daniel Fleshler, a spokesman for Milberg, "declined to comment on the request to withdraw," and "Dumain said in the filing [to withdraw] that he is submitting a statement of his reasons to the court for its private review" as then reported by Bloomberg: "the revolving door of lawyers is yet additional evidence that this abusive lawsuit is a hoax and a fraud" said Orin Snyder from Gibson, Dunn who represents Facebook.
In commenting on the criminal complaint against Ceglia the U.S. Attorney for Manhattan said the following in a press release:
As alleged, by marching into federal court for a quick payday based on a blatant forgery, Paul Ceglia has bought himself another day in federal court for attempting a multi-billion dollar fraud against Facebook and its CEO. Ceglia's alleged conduct not only constitutes a massive fraud attempt, but also an attempted corruption of our legal system through the manufacture of false evidence. That is always intolerable. Dressing up a fraud as a lawsuit does not immunize you from prosecution.
None of the firms or lawyers who represented Ceglia have been accused of any wrongdoing although "Facebook's lawyers at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher . . . indicated they would pursue possible claims against the lawyers who represented Mr. Ceglia" as reported by Peter Lattman for The New York Times:
"Ceglia used the federal court system to perpetuate his fraud and will now be held accountable for his criminal scheme," said Orin Snyder, a partner at Gibson Dunn. "Facebook also intends to hold accountable all of those who assisted Ceglia in this outrageous fraud."
Snyder did not identify which particular lawyers out of the many who represented Ceglia he may have had in mind, and did not elaborate on what specific involvement others may have played in the alleged scheme for which they could be liable.Download Criminal Complaint Against Paul Ceglia
Further reading that may be of interest: