What shining bastion of moral authority would bravely step up to defend a helpless $500 billion corporation being bullied by evil anti-trust investigators? The kind of editorial board that comes with its own warning.
Under the headline "Apple's Star Chamber," a reference to the oppressive secret court of King Henry VII that tortured witnesses and "inflicted everything short of death upon those found guilty," the Wall Street Journal argues that Apple is being besieged (besieged, they tell you!) by "an abusive judge and her prosecutor friend."
Judge Denise Cote, who is presiding over the Justice Departments antitrust "assault" on Apple for conspiring to the fix the price of e-books has made it "even more abusive," says the Journal, by assigning Michael Bromwich as an external monitor to oversee compliance of her ruling, "which he has interpreted as carte blanche to act as the inquisitor of all things Cupertino."
If this sounds like a familiar complaint, it's because Apple said the exact the same thing, in less slightly less butthurt terms, last week when it accused Bromwich of acting as a "quasi-inquisitional" henchman for Judge Cote. The Wall Street Journal also echoed Apple's annoyance at having to pay too much for the hourly rate for Bromwich, another antitrust lawyer, and an administrative fee to Bromwich's consulting firm.
According to the Journal, there are some dark arts afoot:
Judge Cote's injunction gave Apple until January 14, 2014 to overhaul its antitrust compliance and training procedures, a process that is underway. But in late October Mr. Bromwich began an open-ended, roving investigation of Apple. He demanded immediate interviews starting in November with every top Apple executive and board member, including CEO Tim Cook, lead designer Jony Ive and Al Gore. Does he want to disinter Steve Jobs too?
The editorial then goes on to call Bromwich's job description "flatly unconstitutional." No, not the broader definition of the term. The Journal, which is owned by News Corp, which also happens to own HarperCollins, one of Apple's co-conspirators, names the precise article of the Constitution being violated by these would-be necromancers.
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