DoJ Defends Antitrust Monitor Against Apple’s Criticisms

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has submitted several filings to a federal court in Manhattan over the past several weeks regarding the actions of Michael Bromwich, the court-appointed monitor overseeing the California-based company’s antitrust compliance in the wake of an e-book price-fixing trial. One filing submitted on Thanksgiving Day alleged that Bromwich was charging excessive fees, while another filing made on Thursday asked the court to stay the monitor provision of the injunction until Apple’s e-book price-fixing appeal can be heard by the Second Circuit.

Now it’s U.S. Department of Justice’s turn to hit back at Apple. In a letter to the court obtained by Publishers Weekly, U.S. attorney Lawrence Buterman accused Apple of engaging in “a systematic and untoward campaign” to publicly discredit Bromwich.

“The United States and Plaintiff States have reviewed Apple’s filings, and have spoken on multiple occasions with both Apple and Mr. Bromwich concerning Apple’s objections,” wrote Buterman. “Based on our review, Mr. Bromwich’s actions to date have been wholly within the scope of his authority under the Final Judgment, and at all times appropriate and consistent with his impeccable reputation.”

Buterman also noted that Bromwich’s attempts to contact and resolve any misunderstandings with Apple on his own have been either rebuffed or ignored. According to Buterman, Apple “refused to articulate how it wanted the External Compliance Monitor to proceed moving forward” and failed to respond to a recent email sent by Bromwich.

Instead, Apple submitted a filing on Thursday that accused Bromwich of “conducting a roving investigation that is interfering with Apple’s business operations, risking the public disclosure of privileged and confidential information, and imposing substantial and rapidly escalating costs.” Apple has also noted that Bromwich overstepped the boundaries of his mandate by requesting meetings with company product designer Jony Ive and Apple board member and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

However, Buterman believes Bromwich has done nothing improper, and accused Apple of simply trying to boost its case for a stay. “At this point, Apple’s misreading appears to be nothing more than strategic,” wrote Buterman in the letter obtained by Publishers Weekly. “Accordingly, Apple’s proposed Order to Show Cause should be denied.”

As reported by Apple Insider, Judge Denise Cote is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Apple’s motion on January 13.

Follow Nathanael on Twitter @ArnoldEtan_WSCS

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