Feb 20, 2018 - Economy

Judge rules against AT&T in White House records dispute

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson grimaces

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

The federal judge hearing the Justice Department's lawsuit to block AT&T's proposed $85 billion purchase of Time Warner on Tuesday denied a request by the telecom giant to disclose communications between Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and the White House about the deal.

Why it matters: Tuesday's ruling is a blow to AT&T's attempt to show that the lawsuit to block the deal is politically motivated by President Trump's antipathy for CNN, which Time Warner owns. AT&T says it wasn't asked to offload any assets as part of the deal until after Trump took office.

What they're saying: “We respect the judge’s decision and look forward to the upcoming trial,” said Dan Petrocelli, who is leading AT&T and Time Warner's defense in the case, in a statement.

  • At a hearing Friday, a Justice Department lawyer said that AT&T's argument for the documents "didn't make sense."

Go deeper: Our report from the courtroom on Friday, when DOJ and AT&T presented their arguments.

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