DOJ Accuses Google Of Deleting Evidence In Antitrust Case

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U.S. Justice Department or DOJ has accused Alphabet Inc.'s Google of deleting internal corporate communication that was supposed to serve as evidence in the government's antitrust case against the search business.

The Department has asked a Federal judge to hold a hearing and to sanction the company over its intentional and repeated destruction of written communications.

Meanwhile, Google reportedly said that it strongly refuted the DOJ's allegations and that it has conscientiously worked for years to respond to inquiries and litigation. A Google spokesperson said the company has produced over 4 million documents in this case alone, and millions more to regulators around the world.

In a filing at a Washington D.C. Federal court, the DOJ has alleged that Google systematically destroyed instant message chats every 24 hours. These messages were required to be saved during the antitrust investigation.

According to the Department, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure required Google to suspend its auto-delete practices in mid-2019, but the company failed timely suspension. Instead, Google falsely told the U.S. then that it had put a legal hold in place that suspends auto-deletion.

During the U.S. investigation and the discovery phase of the litigation, Google repeatedly misrepresented its document preservation policies that conveyed the false impression that the company was preserving all custodial chats.

The Justice Department said in the filing, "Google's daily destruction of written records prejudiced the United States by depriving it of a rich source of candid discussions between Google's executives, including likely trial witnesses."

In 2020, the DOJ had filed its antitrust lawsuit against Google for using unlawful practices to preserve its dominance over internet search.

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