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U.S. Assistant Attorney General Joel Klein announced Tuesday that he is stepping down from his post as the Justice Department’s chief antitrust enforcer at the end of September. Klein didn’t say why he is resigning, but it’s no coincidence that he’s departing from his politically appointed post as the Clinton administration winds down. Department spokeswoman Gina Talamona said Klein would take a break and then begin searching for a new job in the private sector. U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno named A. Douglas Melamed, Klein’s principal deputy, as acting assistant attorney general. “My five-and-a-half years with the division have been extraordinarily gratifying, but the time has come to seek new challenges,” Klein said in a statement. “I have done what I set out to do here, and our work is on the right track.” During Klein’s tenure, the department’s antitrust division stepped up its challenges to corporate mergers, such as the abandoned marriage of WorldCom and Sprint, and brought several high-profile lawsuits, including the case against Microsoft that resulted in a court-ordered breakup earlier this year. Microsoft’s share price jumped from about $64 to $65.75 at the news of Klein’s resignation. The Supreme Court is expected to decide soon whether to take on Microsoft’s 28-month-old antitrust case directly or send it back to an appeals court for review. Melamed has been Klein’s right-hand man throughout the case. Before joining the Justice Department, Melamed spent 25 years in private practice at Washington, D.C.-based Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering. His work there included defending IBM in its antitrust battles in the 1970s, along with David Boies, the government’s lead trial counsel in the Microsoft case. “Joel Klein has been a champion for America’s consumers,” said Reno in a statement. “With Doug Melamed assuming the post of acting assistant attorney general, I know the division will be in excellent hands.” Related Articles from The Industry Standard: The Microsoft Judgment: Breaking the Gates DOJ’s Klein Takes Pro-Microsoft Heat on Capitol Hill Having Friends in High Places Copyright � 2000 The Industry Standard

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