Google turned to a Texas court for help Thursday, fearing that a multistate antitrust probe could allow its rivals to gain access to sensitive information.

Driving the news: Google sought a protective order to limit the sharing of its confidential information in the states' antitrust investigation.

Details: The company told the court that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading the states’ investigation, has refused to agree to give Google notice before it shares documents with third parties or consultants, and won’t prohibit its consultants from working for Google competitors now or in the next year.

  • The consultants in contention are Cristina Caffara, an economist with Charles River Associates, and Eugene Burrus, a former Microsoft lawyer.
  • Google said Caffara has worked for its “adversaries on antitrust and competition matters” including News Corp and Microsoft, and also notes that her contract with the Texas AG’s office indicates she’s not charging for her advice.
  • Burrus worked as Microsoft’s assistant general counsel and has represented clients in cases against Google while in private practice, Google said.

What they're saying: Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda noted the company has provided "millions of pages" of documents in regulatory inquiries and is committed to cooperating with the states' probe.

  • “But this is an extraordinarily irregular arrangement and it’s only fair to have assurances that our confidential business information won’t be shared with competitors or vocal complainants," Castaneda said in a statement.
  • Marc Rylander, communications director for the Texas AG, said the office offered several proposals to protect Google's information, but in the midst of the negotiations, Google went to court to challenge "our right to employ many of the most knowledgeable in this complex field."
  • "We are not willing to compromise our ability to discharge our obligation to conduct a thorough investigation of Google’s conduct," Rylander said in a statement. "The protective order requested by Google would do just that. Google’s petition is nothing more than an effort to hamstring the investigation. But Google is not entitled to choose the states' expert or run the states' investigation.”

The big picture: Antitrust investigators rely on information from both the targets and their rivals to build cases, but Google doesn’t want its competitors to gain an edge through sensitive material it's forced to hand over.

Go deeper: The full list of antitrust investigations into Big Tech

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Trump commutes Roger Stone's sentence

Roger Stone arriving at his sentencing hearing on Feb. 20. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump on Friday evening commuted the sentence of his longtime associate Roger Stone, according to two senior administration officials. Stone in February was sentenced to 40 months in prison for crimes including obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress.

Why it matters: The controversial move brings an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars. He had been scheduled to report to prison on July 14.

Updated 10 hours ago - Health

Which states have set single-day coronavirus records this week

Data: COVID Tracking Project and state health department data compiled by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti and Naema Ahmed/Axios

13 states this week surpassed records set just last week for their highest number of coronavirus infections in a single day, according to the COVID Tracking Project and state health department data. 16 states in total reported new highs.

The big picture: The United States' alarming rise in coronavirus cases isn't just due to increased testing — particularly where the number of cases has grown fastest over the last month, Axios' Andrew Witherspoon and Caitlin Owens report.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 p.m. ET: 12,389,660 — Total deaths: 557,279 — Total recoveries — 6,830,596Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 p.m. ET: 3,169,611 — Total deaths: 133,885 — Total recoveries: 983,185 — Total tested: 38,856,341Map.
  3. Public health: The reality of the coronavirus bites.
  4. Trade: Trump says he's no longer considering phase-two trade deal with China because the pandemic damaged the two countries' relationship.
  5. 🎧 Podcast: Rural America has its own coronavirus problem.