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Apple finds sympathetic ear in fight to remove antitrust monitor Bromwich

The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on Tuesday heard Apple's arguments to dislodge lawyer Michael Bromwich from his position as external antitrust monitor, with one judge voicing concern over the methods used in his investigation.

Bromwich


During today's proceedings, Circuit Court Judge Dennis Jacobs took issue with Bromwich's monitoring activities, including requests to meet with Apple executives and board members without their lawyers, reports Reuters.

"I think you could see how that could generate substantial anxiety in the company," Judge Jacobs said.

Justice Department counsel Finnuala Tessier retorted, saying Bromwich has not met with Apple executives without legal representation present. She also addressed concerns that Bromwich held private discussions with the DOJ, saying such talks are necessary and expected.

"Monitorships would be unworkable otherwise," Tessier said.

Judge Jacobs also took issue with the $1,100 per hour fees Bromwich initially charged Apple for his services, saying the public would be "flabbergasted" at the amount. In late 2013, Apple said Bromwich required excessive pay, which at the time came out to $138,432.40 for two weeks of work.

Bromwich's working rate has since been reduced to an undisclosed figure, but Judge Jacobs ordered current details be filed by Thursday.

Bromwich was appointed by federal Judge Denise Cote to in 2013 after the company was found found guilty of colluding with book publishers to falsely inflate e-book prices. The external monitor is tasked with ensuring Apple abides to the ruling and does not enter into similar unsavory business deals.

Apple has accused Bromwich of conducting a wide-roving and unconstitutional investigation of the company, an argument reiterated by Apple lawyer Theodore Boutrous in court today.

If the three-judge panel grants Apple's appeal, it could result in the company avoiding a $450 million settlement class action settlement to 33 attorneys general and consumers.