After the six week trial that happened this spring, the Justice Department appeared to have a hard time convincing U.S. District Judge, Richard Leon, to block AT&T’s planned acquisition of Time Warner.
New unsealed transcripts from private bench proceedings during the trial between the lawyers of both sides and Judge Leon, show the government attorneys were having tremendous difficulties with the judge.
The transcripts, which have pages by the hundreds, undeniably show that two sessions were happening, one in public with witness testimony and the other in private talks between the attorneys and Judge Leon.
Judge Leon, who ruled in favor of the companies back in June, criticized the lawyers representing the Justice Department for belaboring specific points and evidence that he did not find relevant. All of this is clearly shown in the transcripts that have been leaked.
“If you start repeating this stuff again, I’m going to publicly tell you I’ve heard this,” Judge Leon told a DOJ lawyer at the court. “I don’t want to do that, but I will.” Judge Leon, stated.
“Don’t try to pull that kind of crap in this courtroom,” Judge Leon told another DOJ prosecutor when he felt she was being deceitful about the timing of an internal AT&T document. “You be direct and honest about what you’re doing. You work for the Department of Justice. You get it?” said, the Judge. He also remarked if the DOJ lawyers had enough experience to keep the pace of the case as he wanted. “He’s had a lot of youngsters come up,” Judge Leon said.
Some of the conferences involved confidential business information that is not meant for the public and in the transcripts it is evident that Judge Leon was concerned about the data being leaked. Even so, it is clear that most discussions did not involve confidential information, including the type of questions or evidence that could be called upon on the proceedings. The DOJ was not benefited from the judged decisions.
The Justice Department is appealing the ruling of Judge Leon, which is allowing the merger, claiming that the judge ignored economic principles in favor of AT&T. In a briefing this Monday, the Justice Department also said: “substantially constrained the government’s presentation of evidence.”
The lawyers representing AT&T stated at the time of the trial, there is was a good reasons to exclude some of the government’s evidence for the case.
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