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US: DOJ shows signs of desperation during government shutdown

 |  October 2, 2013

The US Department of Justice is reportedly feeling the pressure from the ongoing government shutdown as agency attorneys file motions for stays in various civil suits, including the ongoing case against the merger of American Airlines and US Airways.

But despite the shutdown, which the DOJ says prevents the body from properly preparing its case, a judge ruled Tuesday that the antitrust trial against the proposed merger cannot be delayed.

The ruling, by US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, throws a wrench in the DOJ’s case, according to the regulators lawyers, who say the government shutdown – which prohibits DOJ personnel from working – means the DOJ will have a harder time preparing for the trial’s first day of arguments on November 25.

The setback was compounded when Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott backed out of the opposition to the merger, also on Tuesday.

Reports say Texas reached an agreement with American Airlines and has therefore withdrawn as a plaintiff in the case.

The judge will not likely make a decision on the case until January.

Since the government shutdown, which began October 1 at midnight after Congress failed to reach an agreement on the federal budget, the DOJ issued a memo saying that only 227 of its 619 employees would be permitted to work, including 122 attorneys.

According to the DOJ, the shutdown “is creating difficulties for the Department to perform the functions necessary to support its litigation efforts.”

Full Content: Tulsa World

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