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Dish Network's Sling TV is an online streaming service for live television. Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

If AT&T's purchase of Time Warner goes through, AT&T will gain too much leverage in future programming deals, one of the telecom giant's video service competitors told a federal judge Monday.

Why it matters: This argument is central to the government's antitrust case against the proposed $85 billion merger, and bolsters previous testimony in the marquee trial.

The details:

  • Dish Network executive Warren Schlichting said that he worried that the merger would complicate the company's next negotiation over carrying programming made by Time Warner, which owns networks like CNN and HBO. Dish has competed for years with AT&T's DirecTV for satellite television customers. As the owner of Sling TV, Dish now also competes with AT&T for streaming subscribers.
  • "We've got a really important supplier teaming up with our biggest adversary," Schlichting said of the merger.
  • His concerns echo those raised by Suzanne Fenwick, a Cox Communications executive who was the government's first witness last week.

But, but, but: A controversy over Schlichting's testimony ate up the entire morning. His outside lawyer, Judge Richard J. Leon said, had provided the executive with Fenwick's testimony and the opening statements from both sides. That's against the rules, per the judge.

What's next: A lawyer for AT&T and Time Warner will cross-examine Schlichting and likely bring up his lawyer's actions. The government has also indicated it will call Turner Broadcasting System chief executive John Martin to the witness stand, as one of many witnesses to come.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
1 hour ago - Health

Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden's plan to accelerate the reopening of K-8 schools faces major challenges from a still out-of-control pandemic and more contagious coronavirus variants.

Why it matters: The longer American kids miss in-person schooling, the further they fall behind. But the uncertain state of the science on the role young children play in the pandemic continues to complicate efforts to reopen schools.

Focus group: Former Trump voters say he should never hold office again

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

"Relief" is the top emotion some swing voters who used to support Donald Trump say they felt as they watched President Biden's swearing-in, followed by "hope."

Why it matters: For voters on the bubble between parties, this moment is less about excitement for Biden or liberal politics than exhaustion and disgust with Trump and a craving for national healing. Most said Trump should be prohibited from ever holding office again.

Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.