The sensational federal court battle over who owns the popular Web name Sex.com -- the centerpiece of a $250 million Internet porn network -- took yet another unusual turn this week.
With a decision expected any day, Stephen Michael Cohen, who controls the Web name, filed a motion to dismiss. He claims new information indicates the case against him was built on doctored evidence.
''This whole case reeks of fraud,'' Cohen says. ''It is truly a Perry Mason twister.''
The plaintiff, Gary Kremen, says he originally owned Sex.com and lost it in 1995 when a letter to domain-name registrar Network Solutions indicated he wanted it transferred to Cohen. Kremen sued in 1998, claiming that the letter was a fake.
Cohen says Kremen never had the name, and in fact Kremen is responsible for the bogus letter in a scheme to claim Sex.com.
Kremen, Cohen claims, ''withheld, and presumably destroyed, evidence'' as part of a ''campaign of deception'' to smear Cohen for ''his alleged past misdeeds'' -- an apparent reference to the two years he served in federal prison for fraud in the early 1990s.
''We got a good laugh out of this,'' says Kremen's lawyer, Charles Carreon, who will oppose the motion.