How complicated and costly is the Department of Justice's price-fixing suit? According to an exchange of letters over whether Apple CEO Tim Cook will be deposed, Apple attorneys note that it has produced over 3.6 million pages of documents for the case, while the publisher defendants have produced nearly five million pages. In addition, at least 29 witnesses have sat for depositions.
The information was revealed as U.S. Attorneys this week asked federal judge Denise Cote to compel Apple CEO Tim Cook to sit for a deposition in the suit. In a March 6 letter filed with the court yesterday, U.S. attorney Lawrewnce Buterman said that Cook was the only “defendant CEO that has not agreed to be deposed in this matter,” and argued that Cook, as “an executive team member” and a “confidant” of Apple founder Steve Jobs was likely to have “highly relevant information” about Apple’s decision to enter the e-book market and its strategies.
Apple attorneys, meanwhile, responded by asking the court for a protective order that would keep Cook from being deposed. Apple attorneys argue that Cook has no “unique knowledge” of Apple’s e-book strategy and “recalls” no relevant conversations with Steve Jobs. Attorneys argued that the court record confirms Cook’s non-involvement, as none of the 29 witnesses has testified to Cook’s involvement, and none of publisher witnesses have even mentioned Cook in their depositions.
In addition, Apple attorneys noted that 11 Apple executives have alredy been deposed, and that Eddy Cue, the executive who oversaw the launch of the iBookstore is being deposed this week, over two days. In the letter, attorneys notes that Phil Schiller, Apple's Chief Marketing Officer, has testifed in his deposition that Cue and Jobs were the only Apple executives present in marketing discussions regarding the iBookstore.
Cote did not immediately rule on the motions. A trial is still set to begin in June.