Joe Biden-Appointed Judge To Oversee DOJ Antitrust Lawsuit Against Apple After Farbiarz Steps Down Under Undisclosed Circumstances

Zinger Key Points
  • Judge Michael E. Farbiarz, who was presiding over the Department of Justice’s antitrust lawsuit against Apple, has recused himself.
  • The judge determined that his “recusal is necessary” and noted that it “cannot be remitted.”

The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) major antitrust lawsuit against Apple Inc. AAPL is set to be overseen by a new judge, according to a recent court filing.

What Happened: Judge Michael E. Farbiarz has stepped down from the case after determining that his "recusal is necessary" under the code of conduct for U.S. Judges.

The court filing stated that Farbiarz’s “disqualification is mandatory and cannot be remitted by the parties.”

The case will now be presided over by Judge Julien Xavier Neals, who was nominated to the U.S. District by President Joe Biden in 2021.

See Also: ‘Is Apple Clever?:' Jim Cramer Asks If iPhone Maker's Receipts For Service Payments Are Timed So People Ignore Them

The specific reasons behind Judge Farbiarz’s disqualification remain undisclosed. However, the filing refers to Canon 3(C)(1)(d), which necessitates a judge’s disqualification when their "impartiality might reasonably be questioned."

This suggests that Farbiarz, or a relative of his, may have a close connection to the case.

Despite this change, the trial will proceed as scheduled in a U.S. District Court in New Jersey.

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Why It Matters: This lawsuit comes in the wake of Apple’s strong response to the DOJ lawsuit in March, where the company declared that the lawsuit threatens its core principles and innovation capabilities.

The lawsuit also cited a 2022 conversation by Apple CEO Tim Cook with a journalist, which has now become a point of contention in the case.

Former Windows head Steven Sinofsky, who witnessed Microsoft Corp.’s antitrust trial in the 90s, called the DOJ’s lawsuit against Apple “so weird.”

Cook visited China amid this legal turmoil, which analysts interpret as a sign that Apple could “double down” on Beijing amidst increasing regulatory pressures in the U.S. and European Union.

Price Action: On Thursday, Apple's stock was up 0.14% in premarket trading, after closing at $167.78 on Wednesday, according to Benzinga Pro.

Check out more of Benzinga’s Consumer Tech coverage by following this link.

Read Next: Apple, Google, And Microsoft Suffer As Small Browsers Gain Market Share After This New Law Made It Easier To Switch To Rivals

Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

Photo courtesy: Shutterstock

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