Google Slips $2.3 Million Check to DOJ to Avoid Jury Trial

( – Big tech giant Google LLC managed to circumvent being brought to trial before a jury in an antitrust case against the company by dishing out $2.3 million to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

On Friday, June 7th, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema deemed the massive sum paid to the DOJ to be sufficient to cover any potential damages that a jury may have awarded. The payment exempts Google from enduring a jury trial, meaning that the case will instead proceed to a bench trial. Brinkema will oversee that trial, which will start in September.

The move by the big tech giant was an uncommon legal move but was intended to avoid a jury trial, which was requested by the federal government and also not common in antitrust lawsuits. The DOJ argued that a jury was needed to determine the damages because Google overcharged the federal agencies for ads on the search engine. The judge dismissed the request after Google submitted a check for $2,289,751, which was determined to satisfy the damages claim.

The federal government and eight states filed a lawsuit against the big tech company in January 2023. The lawsuit alleges that Google “corrupted legitimate competition” in the online advertising industry by buying up the market, limiting options for advertisers and publishers, and forcing them to use its products. According to the allegations, Google overcharged federal agencies when they spent over $100 million on ads up to 2019, for which the agencies are seeking treble damages.

The DOJ argued that the over $2 million payment wasn’t enough to compensate for the alleged overcharge damages, but Brinkema struck down their argument and sided with Google in the end, calling the check “a wheelbarrow of cash,” stopping short of calling the government stupid to turn it down.

Government prosecutors will still seek to prove in the bench trial that Google illegally monopolized the online ad market. The DOJ complaint seeks to break up Google’s advertising branches.

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