Paul Ceglia is without a lawyer – again.
Just four days after federal prosecutors charged the Allegany County man with fraud in connection with his Facebook ownership suit, his lawyer in the civil case is calling it quits.
Dean Boland says he never saw evidence that Ceglia engaged in fraud as part of his lawsuit, but that didn’t stop the Ohio lawyer from becoming at least the fifth attorney to drop him as a client.
“It is important to emphasize in the strongest terms possible that the reasons underlying this request … have nothing to do with any belief by the undersigned that plaintiff is engaged in now or has been engaged in during the past, fraud regarding this case,” Boland said in his request to the court.
Facebook’s attorneys declined to comment on Boland’s withdrawal but in the past have described Ceglia’s legal representation as a “revolving door of lawyers” and proof that his suit is a hoax.
Boland is quitting the case just five months after Milberg LLP also dropped Ceglia as a client.
The presence of Milberg, a large, nationally known law firm, provided some credibility to the Facebook case until the firm withdrew three months later.
Ceglia’s suit – he’s seeking at least a 50 percent stake in Facebook – is based on his contention that he and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg signed a contract in 2003.
Facebook acknowledges that Zuckerberg signed a contract with Ceglia while he was a student at Harvard University but contends that it had nothing to do with Facebook.
Boland joined the civil case in October of last year after Ceglia’s previous attorney, Jeffrey A. Lake, also stepped down.
Lake, of San Diego, left the case just days after he and another lawyer documented Ceglia’s refusal to comply with an order by U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie G. Foschio. Ceglia was later sanctioned by Foschio.
Lake’s withdrawal came just months after he took over for DLA Piper, another national firm, and the local firm Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman.
Those two firms followed Ceglia’s first legal team, which included the Buffalo law firm Connors & Vilardo. They left the case in April of last year.
Boland could not be reached to comment Tuesday, but his withdrawal came just days after he told the New York Times, “If I thought this was a fraud, I would have bailed out two seconds later.”
He also said he’s convinced that Ceglia has a strong civil suit against Facebook and suggested that the criminal charges could help because they suggest that the second page of Ceglia’s alleged two-page contract with Zuckerberg is real.
Why, then, would so many law firms drop the case? “You’d have to ask them,” Boland told the Times.
Ceglia is represented by the Federal Public Defender’s Office in the criminal case.