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Google cut Uncle Sam a $2 million cheque so it could avoid a jury trial.


A US federal judge ruled on Friday that a judge and not a jury will decide an antitrust lawsuit brought by the US government against Google after Google wrote the government a cheque, paying back the full amount of monetary damages the lawsuit sought. The case regarding Google’s advertising technology is the first antitrust suit against a Big Tech company brought by the Biden administration. US District Judge Leonie Brinkema’s decision on Friday is a setback for the Justice Department, which sought a jury trial for the case.

The DOJ and multiple states have alleged in the ad-tech case that Google bulldozed rivals through anticompetitive mergers and bullied publishers and advertisers into using the company’s proprietary ad technology products. Brinkema ruled in Google’s favour after the tech company argued that the check — for $2.3 million, according to a Google spokesperson — settled the government’s claim for damages and that a jury was no longer needed to try the case.

In a statement, a Google spokesperson, Peter Schottenfels, celebrated Brinkema’s decision. “DOJ’s contrived damages claim has disintegrated. We’re glad the Court ruled that a judge will try this case,” Schottenfels said. “As we’ve said, this case is a meritless attempt to pick winners and losers in a highly competitive industry that has contributed to overwhelming economic growth for businesses of all sizes. We look forward to making our case in court.”

A hearing is set for June 21 on Google’s motion for summary dismissal, which would terminate the case without a trial. If not granted, the bench trial is set for September.

– CNN’s Brian Fung contributed to reporting.


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