Local
3:32 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

Slepian killer Kopp claims association with Facebook plaintiff Ceglia

A strange twist is being reported today in the Facebook lawsuit filed by Paul Ceglia of Wellsville. 

Federal court papers reveal that James Kopp,  who is serving life in prison for the 1998 murder of Amherst abortion provider Dr. Barnett Slepian, reportedly wrote and sent a letter to Ceglia from jail.  

Buffalo News reporter Phil Fairbanks broke the story.  Fairbanks says he discovered information from federal court documents.

James Kopp was sentenced to 25 years-to-life in prison in 2007 for murdering Dr. Barnett Slepian.
James Kopp was sentenced to 25 years-to-life in prison in 2007 for murdering Dr. Barnett Slepian.
Credit File photo

"Who don't know for sure that it's from Kopp, but whoever wrote it signed his name. It definitely came from the federal penitentiary where he's at outside of Scranton, PA," Fairbanks told WBFO News.

"All indications are that, in fact, it was James Kopp that wrote this letter."

The letter claims Kopp and Ceglia have been pen pals for the last four years.  In it, Kopp claims Ceglia promised him prison commissary money and magazine subscriptions if he won his lawsuit. Kopp also says Ceglia promised to visit him in prison on a weekly basis.

Kopp also says Ceglia told him he would "lie and create a fraud lawsuit against Facebook" and use settlement money to hire Kopp a top attorney.

More startling, Fairbanks reports the letter claims that Kopp has evidence that Ceglia was somehow involved in the Slepian murder, though it's not made clear in what capacity.   Kopp used a high-powered rifle to shoot Slepian in the kitchen of his Amherst home in 1998.

That claim is being considered by U.S.  Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio, who is handling the Ceglia lawsuit.  The judge accepted the letter into the court records.

"We don't know whether there's any credibility to what Kopp is saying," Fairbanks said. "We don't know what his motivations are [or] whether there's any truthfulness in his comments, but the court is obviously being forced to treat this fairly seriously."

Ceglia has been embattled in a lawsuit against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, claiming he was promised a 50 percent share in the social media company. 

The case took a turn when Ceglia was arrested at his home in Wellsville a few weeks ago after he was charged with fabricating and destroying evidence in the case.