New York: Facebook and its founder must release documents and electronic correspondence to a defense lawyer whose client has fled from criminal charges that he falsely claimed a majority ownership in the social media giant, a federal judge said on Friday.
Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg U.S. was ordered by District Judge Vernon Broderick to submit documents by Monday that were requested by Paul Ceglia’s lawyer, Robert Ross Fogg.
The judge said he received a letter Thursday from lawyers for Facebook Inc. and Zuckerberg asking that an order he issued earlier in the week to promptly turn over requested documents be suspended until Ceglia is caught.
Documents requested include all electronic communications Zuckerberg had about a Ceglia contract during an 18-month stretch beginning in 2003.
Ceglia’s father told Broderick at a hearing last week that he believed his son might have fled because he believed Facebook and Zuckerberg were working together with prosecutors against him, jeopardizing his chance for a fair trial. The judge said he would not allow a trial to proceed unjustly.
Federal prosecutors had urged Broderick not to force Facebook and Zuckerberg to turn over the documents, saying doing so would “reward Ceglia’s flouting of the judicial process while unreasonably drawing on the resources of the government and the authority of the court.