The attorney representing plaintiffs in one of the few state-level class-action antitrust lawsuits left against Microsoft Corp. announced Monday that she would not call Chairman Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer as witnesses.
Roxanne Conlin won a judge’s ruling prior to the trial that would have forced Gates and Ballmer to travel to Des Moines for direct questioning even though the two executives were expected to testify later in the case when Microsoft presents its defense.
Judge Scott Rosenberg’s ruling indicated that Gates and Ballmer would be required to travel to Des Moines from Washington only once. That would have allowed Microsoft attorneys to question the two men directly — in effect presenting part of their defense in the middle of the plaintiffs’ case.
Conlin released a statement Monday that said the decision was reached to avoid any potential confusion by jurors.
Conlin will be allowed to play a 10-hour unflattering 1998 deposition by Gates from another lawsuit that shows a fidgety, nervous looking chief executive.
I had mentioned the judge’s “one trip” decision here. Gates and Ballmer are still expected to travel to Iowa to testify for the defense.