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Here are the documents the Google antitrust trial judge didn’t want you to see

Here are the documents the Google antitrust trial judge didn’t want you to see


We hope they’ll come back online officially — but for now, here they are.

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Photo illustration of the Google logo with gavels in the background
Illustration by Cath Virginia / The Verge

The already locked-down US v. Google antitrust trial got a little more restricted earlier this week — when Judge Amit Mehta, following a complaint from Google, chided the Department of Justice for posting exhibits from the trial online without notifying him first. These documents are, for all intents and purposes, public: they were viewable in court and will likely be entered into public records, something Mehta acknowledged. Unlike in the recent FTC v. Microsoft debacle, there’s no evidence of failed redactions that reveal bombshell details about a company, although the parties have argued over exhibits Google deems irrelevant.

Bloomberg’s Leah Nylen, who argued for access to the documents in court, has the full write-up of what happened Tuesday and what didn’t happen (a ruling on the future of the documents, as promised by Judge Mehta) on Wednesday. As she notes, it’s part of an ongoing limitation of how much the public can see of US v. Google, a trial that could decide the future of Google’s search juggernaut. Much of yesterday’s testimony took place in a closed session, during which reporters and the public were not allowed in court at all. Google has declined to comment on the record about the documents’ removal to The Verge, and the Justice Department has not returned requests for comment.

So far, what we have heard paints a picture of a Google that’s both dominant in search and highly cautious about admitting it, to the point of admonishing executives for using terms like “market share” and quietly raising search ad prices to “shake the cushions” and meet revenue targets. The online exhibits drove that point home, including email chains and presentations in which Google executives admit that its vast scale improves the service dramatically and that default deals — which the Department of Justice alleges it struck anticompetitively with both Apple and phone companies — are a powerful tool.

We’re hoping the documents will be restored, and as of Tuesday, it sounded like a distinct possibility, despite the frustrating delay since then. But for now, here they are, courtesy of Bloomberg, the Wayback Machine, and The Verge’s own backups.