January 16, 1998 in Nation/World

Judge Rejects Bid To Replace Expert

Compiled From Wire Services

A federal judge turned down Microsoft Corp.’s bid to remove a court-appointed expert and turned up the heat on the software maker, accusing it of making defamatory remarks against the official.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson late Wednesday denied Microsoft’s request to remove Harvard University law professor Lawrence Lessig from his position as a court-appointed “special master.”

Lessig is to review technical issues in the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft, which seeks to prevent the company from unfairly dominating the Internet browser software market.

Microsoft had charged Lessig was biased, citing his electronic mail correspondence with employees at Netscape Communications, a Microsoft rival. Jackson didn’t agree.

“The bases given for those accusations are both trivial and altogether nonprobative,” Jackson wrote. “They are, therefore, defamatory and the court finds that they were not made in good faith.”

Microsoft spokesman Greg Shaw said the company was disappointed. “We did feel the evidence we presented had merit,” Shaw added, saying the company would continue to work with Lessig.

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