Press To Be Barred From Ongoing Microsoft Antitrust Depositions

In a scary turn of events, specifics of US antitrust legislation have allowed Microsoft to get the press barred from witnessing ongoing depositions in the continuing trial. The ruling was issued by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly and it effects only the deposition process of the ongoing trial that now only involves the 9 holdout states unwilling to go along with the Bush Administration DoJis mockery of a settlement with the software monopoly. The reasons for the ruling stem from wording in antitrust legislation that requires press access to depositions only in antitrust trials involving the federal government. From an Infoworld article:

News organizations do not have the right to attend upcoming depositions in the continuing antitrust battle between the nine hold-out states and Microsoft, a U.S. District Court judge ruled.

The Associated Press, Cable News Network LP, Dow Jones & Co. Inc., The Washington Post, The San Jose Mercury News, and USA Today asked Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to deny a Microsoft motion that would remove the obligation to allow public access to witness interviews, according to court documents made public on Tuesday.

In 1998, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson consolidated the antitrust case brought against Microsoft by the DOJ with the case that 18 states and the District of Columbia were pursuing. Also that year, Judge Jackson approved motions filed by another group of news organizations claiming they had "right of access" to all depositions taken regarding the case. In 1999, Judge Jackson ordered that all subsequent depositions related to the case would be open to the public as well.

A U.S. Court of Appeals decision in June of 2001 upheld Jacksonis decisions regarding public access to depositions. But because the DOJ has since settled its case with Microsoft, Judge Kollar-Kotelly said that the U.S. government is no longer involved in the suit, therefore the public access provision cannot apply.

The nine hold-out states have not opposed Microsoftis motion to remove public access provisions from the deposition.

There is some additional information in the full article.