Apple gets its court-appointed monitor benched … for now

ibooks_heroApple has been granted a temporary reprieve from the watchful eye of its court-appointed antitrust monitor.

The second circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York has granted an administrative stay on the activities of Michael Bromwich, the former Justice Department Inspector General who is in charge of ensuring that Apple doesn’t violate the terms of the antitrust judgment levied against it, according to a report by Reuters.

The stay doesn’t mean that Bromwich is gone for good, though. A three-judge panel from the appeals court will convene as soon as possible to hear Apple’s challenge to Bromwich’s presence, as well as the Justice Department’s defense of Bromwich.

Apple had objected to Bromwich’s conduct after he issued a scathing complaint to the court citing Apple’s lack of cooperation with his investigation. The Cupertino-based tech giant argued that Bromwich’s fees were excessive, and that his investigation had reached beyond his mandate. Judge Denise Cote, who presided over the antitrust trial and appointed Bromwich as a monitor, ruled last week that his conduct was not out of line, and she would not remove him.

Cote ruled last year that Apple had violated antitrust law by conspiring with publishers to raise e-book prices. Apple, for its part, has maintained that its conduct did not run afoul of antitrust law and plans to appeal.

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