Technology

Who’s Who in Google’s Antitrust Lawsuit


Follow live updates from Google’s antitrust trial

A trial to determine whether Google abused its monopoly in online search, which opens Tuesday, is expected to reveal how the Internet search giant consolidated its power, with testimony from high-tech executives, engineers, economists and academics.

The trial will take place in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, where a select group of individuals will run the courtroom and direct day-to-day legal strategies. Here are the key people to know in US et al. against Google:

Judge Mehta, who was appointed to the bench in 2014 by President Barack Obama, will arbitrate and decide the case in a nonjury trial.

In more than three years of preliminary hearings, Judge Mehta has not given his opinion on the case. In a proceeding last month, he narrowed the lawsuit brought by the Justice Department and the states while retaining the main argument that Google maintained its monopoly in search through deals with smartphone makers that eliminated its competitors.

Judge Mehta, 52, was randomly assigned to US et al. against Google. He may be more familiar with Google than other federal judges, whose average age reached 69 in 2020, according to a study at the time by the Ohio State Law Journal. He received his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1997, a year before Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google.

Judge Mehta previously worked in private practice in San Francisco and Washington, focusing on white-collar criminal defense, complex commercial litigation, and appellate defense.

Mr. Kanter, the Justice Department’s top antitrust official, is overseeing the government’s case.

President Biden nominated Mr. Kanter, a longtime technology and media attorney who earned his law degree from Washington University in St. Louis, to the Department of Justice in July 2021. Mr. Kanter made part of a group of progressive critics of big tech that Mr. Biden has been placed in top government posts on antitrust enforcement. He inherited the Google case from the Trump administration.

Mr. Kanter, 50, is also overseeing another antitrust lawsuit against Google in the ad technology market. Google has raised concerns that its history of representing rivals including Microsoft and News Corp made it biased, and the company protested its involvement in the ad technology case.

It is unclear how often Mr. Kanter will appear in court. Doha Mekki, the Justice Department’s principal deputy attorney general, and Hetal Doshi, the deputy attorney general for antitrust cases, helped defend the lawsuit and will be in the courtroom daily.

Mr. Dintzer, a 30-year veteran of the Justice Department, will deliver opening statements and lead the government’s case into the courtroom.

A graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, Mr. Dintzer, 59, was assigned to the Google case during the Trump administration. He argued during preliminary hearings before Judge Mehta that Google destroyed the instant messages “depriving” the department “of a rich source of frank discussions among Google executives, including likely witnesses at trial.”

He has worked on antitrust cases in the past, including the Justice Department’s lawsuit to block AT&T’s proposed merger with T-Mobile in 2011. The companies ultimately abandoned the deal.

Mr. Weiser oversees a coalition of 38 state attorneys general and others who have joined the Justice Department in its search lawsuit.

Mr. Weiser, 55, a former deputy attorney general for antitrust at the Justice Department during the Obama administration, has sharply criticized big technology companies for stifling competition. After graduating from New York University Law School, he became counsel to Joel Klein, head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, during the agency’s monopoly trial against Microsoft in the He did not work directly on the case but said in an interview that it influenced him.

Mr. Weiser chose Jonathan Sallet, a former deputy antitrust chief at the Justice Department, and William Cavanaugh, a lawyer at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler and a former Justice Department official, as lead litigators for the states.

Mr. Pichai, Google’s chief executive, is expected to testify at the trial.

He joined Google in 2004 as head of product management for Chrome and other tools, and was named general manager in August 2015.

A measured and calm speaker, sometimes described as boring, Mr. Pichai, 51, has been largely composed when testifying at Congressional hearings on content moderation and antitrust laws in recent years. This could be very useful to him during the trial.

Google founders Mr. Page and Mr. Brin should not be called as witnesses. But the Justice Department and Google will likely call other tech executives to testify, including Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of services, to discuss the company’s search agreements with Google.

Mr. Walker, Google’s president of global affairs and chief legal counsel, is overseeing the company’s defense.

Mr. Walker, 62, received his law degree from Stanford and joined Google in 2006. He led Google’s policy and legal strategy during an antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission that began in 2009. The agency decided not to pursue charges after the case. the company has accepted certain changes.

Mr. Walker supervises a large team of in-house and outside counsel and will enter and exit the courtroom. Google’s day-to-day legal representative in the courtroom, who has overseen case strategy, is Lara Kollios, director of regulatory response and investigations.

Mr. Schmidtlein, co-chairman of the antitrust practice at Williams & Connolly, is Google’s lead lawyer in the courtroom.

Google has turned to lawyers like Mr. Schmidtlein, 57, who fought Microsoft in antitrust cases two decades ago, to defend it in court. In 2002, Mr. Schmidtlein represented states suing Microsoft for using its dominance in Windows software to block competing media players.

Mr. Schmidtlein, a Georgetown University law graduate, also has extensive experience working for technology companies. This year, he helped Amazon defeat an antitrust lawsuit brought by consumers against its logistics practices.

Google’s litigation team also includes Susan Creighton, a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati who represented Netscape in the government’s antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft in 1998, and Mark Popofsky, a partner at Ropes & Gray who was lead counsel for the Department of Defense. Justice in this trial. against Microsoft.

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