WASHINGTON — Seeking to keep its business intact, Microsoft filed legal briefs Monday alleging the federal judge who ordered its breakup compromised the "appearance of impartiality."
In its first filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which now has custody of the landmark case, Microsoft lambasted U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield.
"By repeatedly commenting on the merits of the case in the press," the company’s brief argued, "the district judge has cast himself in the public’s eye as a participant in the controversy, thereby compromising the appearance of impartiality, if not demonstrating actual bias against Microsoft."
A spokeswoman for Jackson said the judge had no comment on Microsoft’s statements.
Microsoft on Monday asked the appellate court to overturn Jackson’s order in June that the company be broken into two parts. If the higher court calls for a new trial, Microsoft wants someone other than Jackson to preside.
Monday’s brief was the latest volley in a long-running battle that could result in the largest government-ordered restructuring since the AT&T breakup in 1984.
Microsoft’s brief asked the federal appeals court to find that Jackson was wrong in concluding that the software giant was an unfair monopoly, and to reverse his breakup order.
Justice Department spokeswoman Gina Talamona said: "The judgment is well supported by the evidence … We are confident in our case and look forward to presenting it to the Court of Appeals."
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