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Google wants judge, not jury, decide upcoming antitrust case in Virginia

Google on Thursday asked that a judge, rather than a jury, decide whether it violated U.S. antitrust laws by building a monopoly on the technology that powers online advertising.

To bolster its case, the tech giant wrote a multimillion-dollar check to the U.S. government that it says renders moot the government’s best argument for demanding a jury trial.

The antitrust case set to go before a jury in Alexandria, Virginia, in September is one of two major lawsuits the Justice Department has brought against Google. While the Virginia case focuses on advertising technology, an ongoing case in the District of Columbia focuses on Google’s dominance as a search engine.

Both sides in the D.C. case have presented evidence and made closing arguments. A judge there will decide whether Google violated the law.

Google wants a judge to decide the merits of the case in Virginia, as well. The company argues in court papers filed Thursday that it’s unprecedented for a jury to decide a federal antitrust case brought by the government. It says that this case in particular involves “a complicated, intricate technology ecosystem, which DOJ has acknowledged to this Court is ‘highly technical, often abstract, and outside the everyday knowledge of most prospective jurors.’”

A Department of Justice spokesperson did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Thursday evening.

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