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Jeff Bewkes and John Martin. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Turner

Justice Department lawyers pushed Turner CEO John Martin on Wednesday to acknowledge that his high-profile sports content would give AT&T a powerful weapon against its competitors — but Martin wouldn't bite. It was the latest development in the trial over whether the telecom giant can buy Turner parent Time Warner. 

Why it matters: Martin danced around the question because the core of the DOJ's argument in blocking the deal is that AT&T could hold back these popular sporting rights as leverage to drive higher prices for everyone but its video service DirecTV.

The gritty details:

  • The Justice Department pointed to an email from Martin to Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, saying that the network would tell Dish subscribers that a blackout of sports content was coming because Dish had yet to reach an agreement with Turner during a round of negotiations.
  • Martin said it was a negotiating tactic to get to an agreement with Dish, implying the objective was not to cause them to hemorrhage customers.
  • Martin stressed that he has no incentive to discriminate against other online streaming live television services that compete with DirecTV Now, because he needs the widest distribution possible to attract advertising and subscription revenue.

The other side: When cross-examined by AT&T and Time Warner lawyer Daniel Petrocelli, Martin said that the company needed more data, which it might get from the merger, to combat falling ad revenues as a result of fewer people subscriber to traditional video services.

Go deeper

Neera Tanden withdraws nomination for Office of Management and Budget director

Neera Tanden testifying before the Senate Budget Committee in Washington, D.C., in February 2021. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Neera Tanden withdrew her name from nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget after several senators voiced opposition and concern about her qualifications and past combative tweets, President Biden announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: Tanden’s decision to pull her nomination marks Biden's first setback in filling out his Cabinet with a thin Democratic majority in the Senate.

What's ahead for the newest female CEOs

Jane Fraser (L) and Rosalind Brewer. Photos: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images; Rodrigo Capote/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

The number of women at the helm of America’s biggest companies pales in comparison to men, but is newly growing — and their tasks are huge.

What's going on: Jane Fraser took over at Citigroup this week, the first woman to ever lead a major U.S. bank. Rosalind Brewer will take the reins at Walgreens in the coming weeks (March 15) — a company that's been run by white men for more than a century.

3 hours ago - Health

Biden says U.S. will have enough vaccines for 300 million adults by end of May

President Biden. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden on Tuesday said that ramped-up coronavirus vaccine production will provide enough doses for 300 million Americans by the end May.

Why it matters: That's two months sooner than Biden's previous promise of enough vaccines for all American adults by the end of July.

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