The ongoing feud in the E-Book Antitrust case between the court appointed monitor and Apple Inc intensified Monday when the Washington Lawyer monitoring the company claimed Apple was obstructing his work.
Michael Bromwich, the appointed external monitor that reviews Apple’s antitrust and training policies after it was found guilty of conspiring to fix prices, claimed that he had been cut off from top executives at Apple. Earlier last month. Apple, on the other hand, argued that Bromwich’s investigation was interfering with its business operations. Apple also objected to the $138,432 in legal fees it had to pay to Bromwich for just two weeks of service. Court documents showed that Apple was refusing to schedule interviews, making just 2 out of the 15 people available for interview.
“In my 20 years of doing oversight work, I have never before had the entity over which I was exercising oversight unilaterally dictate who could be interviewed, even in those instances in which I have dealt with very sensitive matter, including highly classified matters of national security,” Bromwich wrote, noting that he had been appointed as a monitor three times before and had conducted scores of investigations in the public and private sector and supervised hundreds of others.
Bromwich said in the documents filed Monday that since he was appointed in October, he and his staff have only be permitted 13 hours of interviews or discussions during two visits to California.
He said seven of the 11 people he had been permitted to interview were lawyers rather than business people and the interviews had to take place at a remote location in Sunnyvale, Calif., rather than at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.
An Apple director reportedly told Bromwich that executives inside the company would “never get over the case” and that they were “extremely angry” while some in the company were “fearful.”
The Department of Justice lawyers said it was “remarkable, and wholly unbelievable” that any one-hour interview would interfere with business operations. Apple lawyers believed Bromwich had took his role too far.
Apple lawyers said Bromwich had launched a “broad and amorphous inquisition” and was “conducting a roving investigation that is interfering with Apple’s business operations, risking the public disclosure of privileged and confidential information, and imposing substantial and rapidly escalating costs on Apple that it will never be able to recover it if prevails on its pending appeal.”
“Apple is suffering from Mr. Bromwich’s unwarranted inquisition of the company’s high-level executives and board of directors,” they wrote.
An Apple spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.