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DoJ accuses Apple of 'character assassination' in e-book monitor feud

updated 03:50 pm EST, Mon January 13, 2014

Apple not working to 'change its corporate tone'

Apple has "chosen a campaign of character assassination over a culture of compliance" with regard to court-appointed monitor Michael Bromwich, and is missing an opportunity to "change its corporate tone," the US Department of Justice complains in a new letter to the court handling the DoJ v. Apple e-book case. Bromwich was appointed by US District Judge Denise Cote last year to ensure that Apple followed imposed pricing and contract terms. Apple has accused Bromwich of immediately launching a roving investigation, despite having a narrower task set to start 90 days after his appointment; the company also objects to his $1,100-an-hour billing rate, and having to pay for a second lawyer hired by Bromwich due to his own inexperience with antitrust cases. Last week, Apple filed a formal request to remove him.

The Wall Street Journal has argued that Bromwich is a "greenhorn" and was appointed due to being a personal friend of Cote. Both the Justice Department and Bromwich have protested, the latter in the form of a letter submitted earlier this week, stating that he has no professional or financial interests impacting his objectivity. The DoJ's new letter includes emails from Bromwich, used as evidence that he has been reasonable.

In 2013 Cote ruled that Apple had conspired with publishers to fix the prices of e-books, mainly in an attempt to undermine Amazon. Since the verdict, prices have indeed dropped in some cases. Apple is appealing the ruling.

by MacNN Staff



  1. James Katt

    Junior Member

    Joined: 03-02-08

    Bromwich deserves his character assassination - he brought it on himself. He is incompetent. He has to hire another attorney who actually is expert at what Bromwich was hired to do. The Justice Department is simply trying to defend pure evil.

  1. JackWebb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-31-07

    Exactly. Character assassination as a fallacious argument is if Apple and the WSJ were attacking things about Bromwich that don't necessarily relate to the job he's doing but in fact the thing being criticized is exactly that.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 01-25-07

    "missing an opportunity to 'change its corporate tone,'"
    Which is not a requirement of the ruling. It is not their corporate tone that is at issue here.

    "Just stick to the facts, Ma'am."

  1. c. haynes

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-21-02

    If I'm going to believe one or the other it sure as heck isn't going to be the DoJ.

  1. twolf2919

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 05-14-13

    Apple is presenting facts about Bromwich. Facts are not "character assassination". Or is the DOJ disputing that Bromwich has no expertise on the subject whatsoever? And, thus, he appears to be chosen solely because he's Judge Cote's friend. Is the DOJ disputing that - because of his ignorance on the subject - Bromwich had to hire an assistant who was versed on the subject? Is the DOJ disputing that the Cote's decree said that Bromwich was to start his job 90 days after the judgement - i.e. in January, not in October, when he started making demands of Apple management (and, of course, quickly raking up $130k+ in charges).

    This whole trial - from the prejudicial statements made by Cote about Apple's guilt before the trial even started to the mickey mouse evidence presented by the DOJ...and now the "oversight" - is a judicial farce! Not only should the judge be disbarred, but the DOJ should be admonished for wasting tax payer money on this "case".

    Read the recent WSJ editorial - I'm not the only one who thinks this way.

  1. jscotta

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-30-02

    I fail to understand why the judge, who is also in question because of the accused relationship with the incompetent attorney, is allowed to rule on her own suspicious relationship issue. Where is the oversight court?

  1. davidlfoster

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 12-06-05

    As I see it the DoJ is missing an opportunity to "change its governmental tone," that is from a farcical and incompetent clownish nature to something a bit more realistic. As in a reality where a judge isn't permitted to rule for herself on an appeal. One where court-appointed monitors are competent and actually work for their compensation instead of sub-contract out their duties. One where the monitor monitors what they are supposed to be monitoring instead of meddling in unrelated aspects or trying to tie up a corporation's officers who work in divisions with no relationship to ebook sales.

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