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The states suing Microsoft have called on a prominent Washington, D.C., lawyer known for his successful defense of Iran-Contra figure Oliver North to represent their views in the Microsoft antitrust case. Brendan V. Sullivan of law firm Williams & Connolly will be the lead trial attorney for the 18 states and the District of Columbia, Sandra Michioku, spokeswoman for California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, said Thursday. Sullivan, 59, will face a familiar foe in the case. Dan K. Webb, now representing Microsoft, prosecuted Adm. John Poindexter in the Iran-Contra affair. Sullivan’s firm also represented President Clinton during his personal legal troubles. Sullivan, like many at his firm, was educated at Georgetown University in Washington. He is known to boast that none of his clients during his legal career ever ended up serving prison time. Microsoft has been in settlement discussions with the Justice Department and the states since the end of last month. If the parties don’t come to an agreement by Nov. 2, they will start court proceedings to decide what penalty Microsoft should face for breaking antitrust laws. Some state attorneys general want a harder line to be taken against Microsoft, and have called for the Justice Department to make sure the penalties affect the new Windows XP operating system. But there is no public rift yet between state lawyers and federal authorities. “We’re committed to working with our partners, the U.S. Justice Department, in the case,” Michioku said. Microsoft may have to sign looser contracts with Internet providers and computer manufacturers, make changes to icons on the computer desktop, or share the blueprints, or “source code,” for its Windows operating system with competitors. Microsoft objected to some options at a hearing last month. “It would be devastating to Microsoft to have that happen,” Microsoft attorney John Warden said of divulging the Windows code. Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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