Ex-Trump aide Carter Page tells court to stop AT&T Time Warner deal

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page argued in court papers on Tuesday that ATT Inc (T.N) should not be permitted to buy CNN parent Time Warner Inc (TWX.N) because there was a risk it would lead to “recklessness” in journalism.

Page, whose contacts with Russia have been under scrutiny by Congress and a special counsel, made his argument in a friend-of-the-court brief that the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has yet to accept.

Late on Tuesday, the court appeared to dismiss his opinion, saying in a brief filing that “Dr. Page’s submission does not appear to be meaningfully relevant to the issues in this case.”

Trump criticized the deal on the campaign trail last year and has repeatedly attacked the reporting of Time Warner’s CNN news network.

Page said in an interview with Reuters that he had not been in contact with the White House about the filing.

The U.S. Department of Justice sued ATT in November to block its $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner, saying the deal could raise prices for rivals and pay-TV subscribers while hampering the development of online video. A trial is set for March 19.

Both ATT and the Justice Department declined to comment.

“This market power concentrated in the hands of a few dominant mega corporate telecommunications-media conglomerates encourages extreme levels of journalistic recklessness and impropriety since it allocates considerable resources to the media outlets under their control,” Page said in the court papers.

Page, who traveled to Russia twice in 2016, has testified to congressional committees investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. In that testimony and elsewhere, he has argued that he has been the subject of unfair and inaccurate media coverage.

As an example of what he said was media abuse, Page criticized Yahoo, which is owned by Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N), for publishing what he called a “highly misleading” story in September 2016 regarding U.S. intelligence officials probing Trump’s ties to Russia.

Page, who described himself as a “junior, unpaid, informal adviser” to the Trump campaign, also argued that it would provide an incentive for the big media outlets to exclude viewpoints it does not like.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Additional reporting by Eric Walsh; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Grant McCool