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Judge Forcing Apple CEO To Testify in eBook Conspiracy Case

By - Source: Reuters | B 23 comments

Tim Cook must take the stand.

Reuters reports that on Wednesday U.S. District Judge Denise Cote granted the Justice Department's request to force Apple CEO Tim Cook to testify for four hours in the eBook conspiracy lawsuit.

This week the Justice Department argued that Cook likely has relevant information about the fruity company's iPad-based entry into the ebook market in April 2010. It also argued that Cook likely had conversations about the ebook market with former Apple CEO Steve Jobs before he passed away a year later in 2011.

Naturally Apple fought the government's request, saying that putting Cook on the stand would be "cumulative and duplicative" given that the Justice Department has already deposed 11 other Apple executives.

"This effort to depose Mr. Cook, Apple's CEO, reflects the fact the government cannot meet its burden of proof in this case," said Orin Snyder, a lawyer for Apple at the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. He said the government was on a "fishing expedition".

But Judge Cote disagreed, saying that the death of Jobs is a key reason in ordering Cook's deposition. "Because of that loss, I think the government is entitled to take testimony from high-level executives within Apple about topics relevant to the government case [as well as to counter Apple's defense arguments]," she said.

Unfortunately for Apple, it's the only company left standing in an antitrust lawsuit filed by the Justice Department against it and five book publishers accused of conspiring to raise ebook prices. All five publishers have settled out of court, the last of which was Macmillan back in February who cited an incredibly large damages expense as a reason for bailing out on Apple.

"Our company is not large enough to risk a worst case judgment," said Macmillan’s chief executive John Sargent. "As each publisher settled, the remaining defendants became responsible not only for their own treble damages, but also possibly for the treble damages of the settling publishers (minus what they settled for). A few weeks ago I got an estimate of the maximum possible damage figure. I cannot share the breathtaking amount with you, but it was much more than the entire equity of our company."

The Justice Department is reportedly not seeking damages -- that will likely be pursued through the antitrust lawsuit filed by Attorneys General of 49 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories and commonwealths. Instead, the Justice Department wants to prove that Apple violated antitrust law, and to establish an order preventing Apple from entering into a similar "most favored nation" agreement.

The trial against Apple will begin in June.


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  • 17 Hide
    wannabepro , March 14, 2013 8:01 AM
    This ought to be fun.
  • 13 Hide
    mi1ez , March 14, 2013 8:07 AM
    oo?
  • 13 Hide
    johnsonma , March 14, 2013 8:20 AM
    Haha, suck it Tim Cook.
  • 7 Hide
    SinisterSalad , March 14, 2013 8:26 AM
    Nobody seems to proof-read online articles around here...
  • -7 Hide
    Parrdacc , March 14, 2013 8:42 AM
    It's called the 5th amendment. So all you will likely here is "I plead the the 5th on the grounds it may incriminate me." So we will probably never know the what, where, why and how's in regards to Tim Cook in relation to this.
  • 12 Hide
    visa , March 14, 2013 8:43 AM
    ""Our company is not large enough to risk a worst case judgment," said Macmillan’s chief executive John Sargent."

    So your company is big enough to get into eBook price-fixing scheme but not big enough to pay the price when you're caught? At least you'll be able to sleep soundly knowing the settlement will go to the lawyers instead of people that actually purchased the books.
  • 12 Hide
    Memnarchon , March 14, 2013 8:44 AM
    "Apple" and "Conspiracy" in the same sentence? What a strange coincidence that never, ever, crossed anyone's mind I believe...
  • 8 Hide
    kanoobie , March 14, 2013 8:53 AM
    " 'Our company is not large enough to risk a worst case judgment,' said Macmillan’s chief executive John Sargent."
    The farce is strong with this one!
  • 5 Hide
    house70 , March 14, 2013 9:49 AM
    Trying to dodge testimony is a very smart move, you'll surely make friends with the judges that way...
    /sarcasm
  • 5 Hide
    rantoc , March 14, 2013 10:11 AM
    Bring the Crook err i mean Cook to the judges =)
  • 7 Hide
    bllue , March 14, 2013 10:24 AM
    Apple was behind this price fixing conspiracy case and I hope they get smacked down.
  • 0 Hide
    spectrablue , March 14, 2013 11:29 AM
    Sherman Anti Trust applies?
  • 1 Hide
    janetonly42 , March 14, 2013 11:30 AM
    Don't you love the two faced legal system we have. It takes a crow bar to get executives or politicians to testify then they usually still lie anyway but when it comes to the average Joe Blow out there, well.........
  • 4 Hide
    madjimms , March 14, 2013 12:25 PM
    falchardThe judge does not seem to understand the law. You cannot force someone to testify under the 5th amendment. She should really read the Constitution.

    If someone won't comply with the judges orders they are in contempt of court....
  • 4 Hide
    ven1ger , March 14, 2013 1:21 PM
    Don't see how Tim Cook can claim 5th Amendment, as he's testifying to details relating to the Apple's involvement with price fixing. Since he isn't being directly prosecuted but Apple the company is then he doesn't have any redress. And if he pleads the 5th, then he's just signaled to the prosecution that he had a direct hand in the price fixing and then they have open season into prying into his life.
  • 5 Hide
    Hando567 , March 14, 2013 2:50 PM
    ven1gerDon't see how Tim Cook can claim 5th Amendment, as he's testifying to details relating to the Apple's involvement with price fixing. Since he isn't being directly prosecuted but Apple the company is then he doesn't have any redress. And if he pleads the 5th, then he's just signaled to the prosecution that he had a direct hand in the price fixing and then they have open season into prying into his life.


    Glad I am not the only one who realized this. The 5th protects one from testifying against themselves, in this case Tim Cook is not on trial, but Apple is. Since Tim Cook the person is not Apple the company, that tactic is useless.
  • 6 Hide
    house70 , March 14, 2013 4:54 PM
    falchardThe judge does not seem to understand the law. You cannot force someone to testify under the 5th amendment. She should really read the Constitution.

    Not the case here. One still has to appear before a judge if ordered so. Also, the 5th applies only in case of self-incrimination. Apple is on trial, not Cook.
    I guess the judge is not the one who needs to read the Constitution.
  • -1 Hide
    ven1ger , March 15, 2013 1:39 AM
    What I'm now wondering, if Apple is found guilty with respect to price fixing and then the States come after them for damages, and we know the States want all the money they can get from lawsuits like these to help with their budgets, what sort of payout will be in line for Apple. This could really hurt Apple financially and in the marketplace. This is just bad news for Apple, their stock falling, its CEO a bit out of touch with the market, market share falling, next week probably some additonal bad news.

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