Crucial evidence from the Google antitrust trial has been removed from the US Department of Justice (DOJ) website.
The DOJ had been publishing key documents, including Google’s private emails, memos, charts and internal presentations as it presented its case – without informing Judge Amit Mehta first.
When the search engine raised a complaint, the judge was sympathetic and ordered the DOJ to remove key documents from the public domain, reports Bloomberg.
Why we care. Now that access to vital evidence has been taken away, it’s going to be a lot tougher for the public to keep up with this landmark case, which could shape the future of the Internet. This stance presents a huge contrast to the widely followed Microsoft Corp. antitrust case back in the 1990s.
What was Google’s objection? Google lawyer John Schmidtlein argued that sharing all evidence with the public was not relevant to the case. He said:
- “Just so we understand what’s at stake here, every document they push into evidence they post on their website, and it gets picked up far and wide.”
- “This isn’t a business record, and it’s totally irrelevant to these proceedings.”
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What influenced the Judge’s decision? The judge told the court he was surprised to learn that the DOJ had published evidence on its website without telling him first. He said:
- ““That’s something I wish I’d been told.”
- “I think a judge is told before evidence in the record is actually put on a publicly available website.”
Government attorney Kenneth Dintzer then quickly apologized and ensured all exhibits previously published on the DOJ website were taken down immediately.
Deep dive. Keep up-to-date with all the latest developments in the Google antitrust trial by reading our trial updates article.