A federal judge told lawyers fighting over T-Mobile’s more than $26 billion bid for Sprint to skip their customary opening arguments so they could start questioning witnesses, a sign he is seeking a speedy trial.
As the case began Monday, US District Judge Victor Marrero asked both sides to trim their list of witnesses to avoid beating him “over the head” with testimony. The bench trial is scheduled to carry into Christmas week but could last longer.
“What value do you see in opening statements in these circumstances?” Judge Marrero asked one of the attorneys representing T-Mobile.
A group of 14 attorneys general, led by New York and California, sued earlier this year to stop the wireless deal, which would combine the country’s third- and fourth-largest carriers by subscribers.
Federal antitrust and telecommunications officials approved the deal earlier this year, saying the merger’s shortcomings were addressed through concessions the officials required from T-Mobile and Sprint. Legal experts say it is unprecedented for the states to reject such a settlement and sue to block a merger of this size and national scope without the support or involvement of federal authorities.
Thirteen states and the District of Columbia decided to continue their litigation despite the Justice Department settlement, which required that Sprint divest some assets to Dish Network to help build its fledgling wireless unit.
Full Content: Wall Street Journal
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