AT&T brings Trump back into Justice Department’s antitrust case

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AT&T is bringing President Donald Trump again into the lawsuit across the Justice Division’s try to dam the telecom large’s acquisition of Time Warner.

Within the opening paragraphs of a short filed Thursday, AT&T reminded the court docket that Trump mentioned throughout his marketing campaign that he would block the merger and that he did not like considered one of its networks — CNN.

In June, AT&T efficiently fended off the Justice Deparment’s first crack at stopping its buy of Time Warner, CNN’s mum or dad firm, which has since been renamed WarnerMedia. However the Justice Division is interesting the case, arguing that the deal will hurt competitors and lift costs for shoppers.

Politics has at all times clouded the case, which has develop into one of many largest antitrust points in many years. Trump has lengthy proven an animus towards CNN, and lots of critics questioned why a conservative Justice Division was taking what would historically be a extra liberal place on the merger.

However Decide Richard Leon, who oversaw the case and in the end authorized the merger in June, stopped discovery on any probably related White Home communications. Trump’s title was by no means uttered throughout the trial.

The Justice Division has lengthy denied that politics performed a job in its choice to sue, and its antitrust chief Makan Delrahim submitted an affidavit to that impact.

However Trump’s title is being invoked once more.

Within the transient on Thursday AT&T reminds the appeals court docket that “many press retailers [questioned] whether or not the White Home had improperly influenced DOJ’s choice to convey the case” and that by throwing out discovery on that query, Leon restricted “the trial to the elemental query of whether or not DOJ had met its burden to show that the proposed mixture violated” antitrust guidelines.

A footnote in that part of the transient features a press launch from Trump’s marketing campaign that mentioned “AT&T … is now attempting to purchase Time Warner and thus the wildly anti-Trump CNN. Donald Trump would by no means approve such a deal.”

Leon in the end determined that the Justice Division had not met its burden throughout the trial. However the Justice Division is arguing that Leon made “basic errors of financial logic and reasoning” in his ruling.

In its response, AT&T says that Leon “properly understood the economics” underlying the Justice Division’s idea and argued that Leon accepted a lot of the Justice Division’s evaluation, however mentioned proof and testimony throughout the trial “led the court docket to reject DOJ’s prediction that Time Warner would command the next wholesale value for its hottest networks just by being affiliated with AT&T.”

CNNMoney (New York) First revealed September 20, 2018: three:07 PM ET

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