The judge in the Microsoft Corp. case agreed that the government's playing of excerpts from Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is an acceptable legal tatic.
In a meeting with attorneys in the case, U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson told Microsoft attorneys, who requested the meeting, that he saw nothing wrong with the government's tactic.
"I do not find that this represents abuse of the legal system in any respect," Jackson said, according to a transcript of the meeting, which occurred on Thursday.
Microsoft, Redmond, Wash., has complained from the outset of the trial that the government has relied upon a strategy of using "snippets" of testimony or video depositions out of context of their true meaning.
Microsoft's attorneys called the meeting to request an end to the government's use of video excerpts from Gates' pretrial deposition testimony prior to introducing each witness. Microsoft argued that if the government intends to use the Gates video it should be shown in one long sequence and not in clips.
Instead, argued John Warden, an attorney for Microsoft, the government is playing the video clips for "an audience outside the courtroom and for the purpose of creating news stories day after day."
Gates' video testimony has, in fact, led to news stories and has not played well for Microsoft, as Gates, normally perceived as a technological wunderkind and hands-on manager, appeared forgetful and uninformed on video. At various points during theplaying of portions of Gates' testimony, the judge has laughed and shaken his head as if in disbelief.
"I think it's evident to every spectator that, for whatever reasons, in many respects, Mr. Gates has not been particularly responsive to his deposition interrogation,'' Jackson said, according to the transcript.
After the playing of one particularly difficult clip, in which Gates nitpicked nearly every question, Jackson asked David Boies, the government's lead attorney in the case, "How long did it take to take this deposition?"
"Three days, your honor," Boies replied. The judge smiled and nodded.
Jackson summed up his thinking on the matter in one comment to Warden during the Thursday meeting: "If anything, I think the problem is with your witness, not with the way in which his testimony is being presented."