AT&T urges appeals court to let Time Warner merger stand; mentions Trump
AT&T asked an appeals court to reject the Justice Department’s challenge of a federal judge’s decision approving its $85 billion merger with Time Warner. The telecom company, which closed the merger in June, responded to the Justice Department’s appeal, arguing that prosecutors failed to prove during trial that the deal would hurt competition and raise prices for consumers. “In the crucible of litigation, DOJ’s claims were exposed as both narrow and fragile,” AT&T wrote in its filing on Sept 20. "We were pleased to respond to the government's opening brief and look forward to oral argument,” said David McAtee, AT&T’s general counsel.
In the opening paragraphs of the brief, AT&T reminded the court that Donald Trump said during his campaign that he would block the merger and that he didn't like one of its networks -- CNN. AT&T wrote, "[M]any press outlets [questioned] whether the White House had improperly influenced DOJ's decision to bring the case," and that by throwing out discovery on that question, Judge Leon limited "the trial to the fundamental question of whether DOJ had met its burden to prove that the proposed combination violated" antitrust rules. A footnote in that section of the brief includes a press release from Trump's campaign that said "AT&T ... is now trying to buy Time Warner and thus the wildly anti-Trump CNN. Donald Trump would never approve such a deal."
AT&T urges appeals court to let Time Warner merger stand AT&T brings Trump back into Justice Department's antitrust case (CNN) AT&T: DOJ's Fragile Case Against Time Warner Merger Doesn't Hold Up (B&C)