Google faces the November deadline for the initial response to the US antitrust case.
Alphabet’s Google must tell a district court how it will respond to a federal antitrust lawsuit in mid-November, with the two sides making initial disclosures later in the month, US Judge Amit Mehta said in a short order Friday.
The US Department of Justice sued Google on October 20, accusing the $ 1 trillion company (approximately Rs. 74.54.8 billion rupees) of illegally using its market power to hamper its rivals in the greatest challenge to the power and influence of big technologies in decades.
The federal government alleges that Google acted illegally to maintain its position in both search and search-based advertising. Google has denied any wrongdoing.
At a state conference on Friday, John Schmidtlein, who represents Google, agreed to tell the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by Nov. 13 if the search and advertising giant planned to request that the case was dismissed by summary judgment.
After a short discussion between government attorneys and Google, Judge Mehta said the two parties should make initial disclosures about possible witnesses and evidence that can be used at trial by November 20.
The judge asked the two parties to submit by November 6 a report on the status of a protection order, which would protect third parties such as Google customers who provide evidence for the government.
The next state conference is set for November 18.
The judge, who was randomly selected, also revealed personal links to Google, including a cousin who worked for the company and a friend who had been an executive there.
Mehta said she was unaware of her cousin’s role at Google. “I confess that I do not know what it does,” said the judge.
Google declined to confirm the cousin’s identity or specify his role.
Antitrust experts have said that Mehta, who was nominated to the Washington court by President Barack Obama, was a good choice for the administration because he is not seen as pro-business.
Judges’ family connections are sometimes challenged by parties to a lawsuit when they seek a different judge. It’s unclear whether Google, or the government, would try to get Mehta to recuse himself.
US law requires a judge to disqualify “himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality can be reasonably questioned.” The law cites situations as in which “a person within the third degree of relationship” with the judge or the judge’s spouse is an official or director of the company, a possible material witness or someone who could be “substantially affected” by the case.