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Microsoft Corp. Thursday bolstered its argument that Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, who ordered the software giant split in two for antitrust violations, should be removed from the case because he talked to reporters about his rulings in the dispute. In a filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Microsoft referred the judges to a Feb. 5 decision by the federal appeals court in Boston. That court removed a judge from a case for talking to a newspaper about a suit charging that minority students are discriminated against in the assignment of local schools. The Boston court said that in In Re Boston’s Children First, the judge did nothing wrong by speaking to a reporter about how the case was proceeding through the courts. But the jurists said the judge’s comments in such a controversial case could leave the impression that the judge had pre-determined the outcome. The situation is similar, though not identical, to Jackson’s actions. Jackson talked to reporters while the trial was proceeding, but his remarks were not disclosed until after his final ruling. That means the comments did not appear during the course of the trial, unlike in the Boston case. The ruling may not help Microsoft void Jackson’s order on charges that he is biased. But it could aid the software giant in getting the case sent to a different judge if the appeals court remands the dispute for further proceedings. “The precedent of this case is that Jackson should be disqualified for the future but not for the past,” said Robert Lande, a professor at University of Baltimore law school. Copyright �2001 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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