wpostServer: http://css.washingtonpost.com/wpost

The Post Most: Business

DJIA
0.16%
S&P 500
0.22%
NASDAQ
0.37%
 Last Update: 12:13 PM 04/21/2014

World Markets from      

 

Other Market Data from      

 

Key Rates from      

 

Blog Contributors

Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee covers technology policy, including copyright and patent law, telecom regulation, privacy, and free speech. He also writes about the economics of technology. He has previously written for Ars Technica and Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter or send him email.

Brian Fung

Brian Fung

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on electronic privacy, national security, digital politics and the Internet that binds it all together. He was previously the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic. His writing has also appeared in Foreign Policy, Talking Points Memo, the American Prospect and Nonprofit Quarterly. Follow Brian on Google+ .

Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

Post Tech
About / Where's Post I.T.?   |    Twitter  |   On Facebook  |  RSS RSS Feed  |  E-Mail Cecilia
Posted at 05:50 PM ET, 09/21/2011

Trial date set for Justice Department lawsuit to block AT&T, T-Mobile merger

A federal judge on Wednesday set a mid-February trial date to hear the Justice Department’s arguments for blocking the $39 billion merger of AT&T and T-Mobile.

U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle also rejected rival Sprint Nextel’s request for access to Justice documents and expressed skepticism about the company’s request to join Justice’s suit.

The decisions will benefit AT&T and T-Mobile, who had hoped for a trial earlier than Justice’s requested date of late March. And without Sprint in the process, chances of a faster trial and potential to reach a settlement outside of court are greater, experts say. Huvelle said the trial would begin Feb. 13 and last four to six weeks.

Huvelle, of the District Court of the District of Columbia, made the decisions in a preliminary scheduling hearing before a full courtroom of attorneys from all major representatives of the wireless industry, officials from Justice and some officials from the Federal Communications Commission.

Living up to her reputation as a no-nonsense and efficient judge, Huvelle took much of the hearing adding up how many days it would take for both sides to interview witnesses and cross examine them, and she suggested that much of the testimony come to her in writing instead of through longer oral arguments.

She also made clear that she wanted to move forward as “expeditiously as possible,” with the wireless giants facing key milestones next spring that could affect their deal and their businesses.

An attorney for AT&T told the judge that the company has plans to fight for its merger in court and has not reached a settlement with the Justice Department. The company has said it will pursue settlement talks in parallel with its court battle. That does not exclude the possibility of all parties reaching a compromise before the February hearing, experts said.

Related:

Seven states join DOJ in lawsuit against AT&T, T-Mobile merger

Merger in hands of Judge Huvelle

Gearing up for round 2, AT&T revs up political ops for merger

This post has been updated since it was first published.

By  |  05:50 PM ET, 09/21/2011

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company