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Facebook 'half-share' claimant refused Zuckerberg interrogation

Paul Ceglia ordered to produce contract he says he had with the social network

A US man who is claiming a half-share in Facebook through court has been refused permission to question, for now, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Paul Ceglia of Buffalo, New York, claims he gave Zuckerberg $1,000 in 2003 to help set up Facebook and says he has a binding contract. However, while Zuckerberg's lawyers admit that a document existed, they say it didn't cover Facebook.

Facebook wants the case dismissed. The judge hearing the case has refused Ceglia permission to immediately question Zuckerberg. Instead, Ceglia's lawyers have been asked to submit expert evidence on the contract in question within two months. Ceglia's lawyers will be able to question Facebook's own experts about the two-page document, said the judge.

Facebook's lawyers claim Ceglia and Zuckerberg signed a contract in 2003 to develop street-mapping software. They claim Ceglia subsequently doctored the document to insert references to Facebook.

Ceglia's lawyers have also been denied permission by the judge to access Zuckerberg's computers from 2003.

In other news for the social network, earlier this week Facebook denied Yahoo's claims of patent infringement and shot back with counterclaims that Yahoo infringed 10 Facebook patents.

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