August 20, 1998 2:10 PM PDT

Microsoft trial delayed

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The trial for the government's antitrust suit against Microsoft will begin September 23, not September 8 as originally planned, U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson said today.

Judge Jackson decided to grant the delay "in view of the considerable amount of discovery remaining and the delay in depositions due to the motion [by the news media]." Both sides already had agreed to push back the trial date.

The ruling came during a status hearing today in U.S. District Court in Washington.

"The recent delay about opening the depositions to the public has caused a standstill to much of the pretrial preparations," a Microsoft spokesman said, adding that the company expects to be in court on September 8 for oral arguments on its motion for summary judgment.

An appeals court ruled yesterday that the pretrial depositions of chief executive Bill Gates and other top Microsoft executives are expected to begin later this month and will be undertaken in private.

According to a Justice Department spokeswoman, the pretrial schedule is as follows:

  • Justice identifies its expert witnesses by September 2.

  • Microsoft identifies its witnesses by September 4.

  • Both sides must submit pretrial statements by September 14.

  • A pretrial conference is set for September 17.

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