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Facebook releases Mark Zuckerberg's Harvard emails

Paul Ceglia's Facebook profile photo Facebook

Updated 10:55 a.m. ET

(CBS News) Facebook released emails from chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg while he was a student at Harvard University to counter claims that entrepreneur Paul Ceglia was owed a 50 percent stake of the social network.

Full coverage of Facebook at Tech Talk

Facebook has filed a motion to dismiss a 2010 case filed by Ceglia in New York state.

In that lawsuit, Ceglia alleges a contract and emails he saved in Microsoft Word documents are evidence of a $1,000 investment he made in the social network, which would give him half ownership of Facebook.

Facebook's lawyers obtained the actual emails exchanged between Zuckerberg and Ceglia in 2004 from Harvard's servers Monday, the Wall Street Journal reports. A search of the servers resulted in no evidence of the previous emails Ceglia claimed were exchanged.

Facebook is calling Ceglia's emails fabrications, citing the evidence from Harvard's servers and the "historical impossibility" of an exchange where Ceglia congratulates Zuckerberg on Facebook before the site went live. Facebook is also pointing to the fact the Ceglia couldn't present the alleged emails in native form as evidence of fraud.

"Today's motion proves what Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have emphatically stated all along: this case is a fraud," said Facebook attorneys Orin Snyder and Gibson Dunn said in a statement.

"The motion asks the Court to dismiss this fraudulent lawsuit, and demonstrates that Ceglia has forged documents, destroyed evidence, and abused the judicial system in furtherance of his criminal scheme. Ceglia must be held accountable."

Ceglia's attorneys aren't waving the white flag yet.

"We have made a preliminary review of Facebook's Motion, which attempts to have this matter ended before Facebook has to provide any discovery and before going to a jury," Ceglia's attorneys told CBS News in a statement.

"The Federal Rules of Evidence say a jury should weigh the evidence in this case, including experts' declarations in Mr. Ceglia's favor about the authenticity of his contract with Mr. Zuckerberg. Mr. Ceglia deserves his day in court, where the jury will resolve this dispute over the ownership of Facebook."

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