In a recent development, the Justice Department has removed a collection of documents related to Google’s high-profile antitrust trial from public access. This action followed a complaint from Google to the court regarding the release of certain documents.
Throughout the trial’s first week, the DOJ’s antitrust team had been posting trial exhibits on a publicly accessible website. These exhibits included emails, charts, and other internal documents that were submitted as evidence. The dispute arose on Tuesday when Google raised concerns about a specific document included as a trial exhibit, reported Bloomberg.
This move to take down the documents has limited public visibility into what is being deemed as one of the most significant antitrust trials in over two decades. The trial has previously restricted public access when discussing confidential internal company information.
One such instance involved the submission of notes authored by Google’s Vice President of Finance, Michael Roszak, during a July 2017 training session. In these notes, Roszak reportedly mentioned that the company could “ignore demand and focus on supply.” Google contested the publication of this document online, arguing its irrelevance to the proceedings.
Google’s attorney, John Schmidtlein, highlighted the importance of the documents’ public posting, saying, “Just so we understand what’s at stake here, every document they push into evidence they post on their website, and it gets picked up far and wide. This isn’t a business record, and it’s totally irrelevant to these proceedings.”
Judge Amit Mehta, who presides over the case, expressed surprise at the practice and stated, “That’s something I wish I’d been told. I think a judge is told before evidence in the record is actually put on a publicly available website.”