According to The Times, there are several issues with access to public trial exhibits on both sides. The Department of Justice has failed to post at least 68 exhibits on its website that were shared in the trial, The Times alleged, and states have not provided access to 18 records despite reporters’ requests.
Google’s responses to document requests have also been spotty, The Times alleged. Sometimes Google “has not responded at all” to requests to review public exhibits. Other times, Google responds, but “often does not provide the exhibit in its entirety,” The Times claimed, including limiting public access to “particular page(s) of the exhibit shown to a given witness.”
The Times has asked the court to intervene and expand public access to key evidence weighed in what’s “arguably the most important antitrust trial in decades, with far-reaching consequences for the future of the tech industry.”
This is just the latest attempt to stop the Google antitrust trial from being shrouded in secrecy. Just before the trial, advocates lost a fight to get the court to provide a public access audio stream of the whole trial. Then shortly after the trial began, Google tried and failed to reduce public access to trial exhibits by requesting an opportunity to review every trial document before the DOJ posted anything online.
The drama over Google’s request to control how trial documents are shared concluded with an agreement between the DOJ and Google that either party would have an opportunity to object to the release of certain trial exhibits within three hours—a matter that both parties would have to prepare to argue the following trial day. Otherwise, either side “may” post the trial exhibit the next day.
In The Times’ court filing, the news organization said that “importantly, however, the order does not command parties to make trial exhibits publicly available; it says only that parties ‘may’ follow the process if they wish to publicly disseminate exhibits. The order also notes that certain types of exhibits—those objected to or used solely in closed session, as well as exhibits ‘pushed’ into evidence without being used in open court—cannot be posted without the Court’s authorization.”