U.S. Judge in Google Case Requests More Information on Attorney-attorney Privilege

The facade of a Google office is seen in New York, New York, U.S., February 10, 2022. REUTERS/Paresh Dave

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WASHINGTON, April 12 (Reuters) – The federal judge takes up the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet (GOOGL.O) Google requested more information on Tuesday before deciding whether to sanction the search and advertising company for allegedly abusing solicitor-client privilege.

The department had sought the sanction based on Google’s “Connect with Care” program, which required employees to add an attorney to many emails. The government said it was sometimes a “game” to protect communications that should not have been protected.

Judge Amit Mehta said last week he was not convinced he had the authority to sanction a company for actions taken before the complaint was filed. read more Mehta on Tuesday asked the government and Google, which had opposed the sanction, to identify any cases that would support their case for or against the sanction.

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Mehta also ordered Google to produce a random sample of 210 of the 21,000 emails to be reviewed.

“At the end of its review, the court will determine whether an order compelling the disclosure of all of the disputed emails or another appropriate course of action,” Mehta said in his order.

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Google in 2020, accusing it of violating antitrust law in its handling of its search business. The trial was scheduled for September 2023.

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Reporting by Diane Bartz; Edited by Leslie Adler

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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