WASHINGTON — The Justice Department argued Monday that a trial judge ignored “fundamental principles of economics and common sense” when he allowed AT&T Inc.’s acquisition of Time Warner Inc., as a host of new details about the antitrust trial became public for the first time.
The government’s arguments came in a brief filed in federal appeals court, where the Justice Department continues to challenge the more than $80 billion cash-and-stock deal — even after the companies completed the transaction in June upon winning a six-week trial.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon had ruled for the companies, saying the government didn’t come close to proving its claims that the deal would yield higher prices and less competition in the pay-TV industry. But the Justice Department called the decision erroneous in its brief filed Monday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The department said the judge ignored the fact that corporations will do what they can to maximize profits and instead accepted without reservation the testimony of defendants’ executives.
AT&T T, -0.50% responded quickly. “Appeals aren’t ‘do-overs,’” AT&T General Counsel David McAtee said in a statement. “After a long trial, Judge Leon weighed the evidence and rendered a comprehensive 172-page decision that systematically exposed each of the many holes in the government’s case. There is nothing in DOJ’s brief today that should disturb that decision.”
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