With Google’s antitrust trial slated to begin next week, its defense team has lost a key advisor over a sex-harassment scandal — and it’s got to be a painful blow for the search giant, according to legal experts.
Late last month, Google cut ties with former FTC Commissioner and legal scholar Joshua Wright after he faced “a storm of sexual harassment allegations,” according to a Bloomberg report.
Those included complaints from eight women, with some claiming Wright sent them flirtatious texts, and others saying he invited them on trips and booked a single hotel room.
Three claimed they had sexual relationships with Wright and several said they feared they’d lose opportunities if they turned him down.
In response, a source close to the situation said the devastating report “comes at a very poor time” for Google as it faces federal allegations that it used illegal deals with smartphone makers including Apple to create a monopoly for its search engine.
Indeed, Wright had helped build Google’s legal and p.r. strategy ahead of the trial, which is slated to begin in federal court in Washington on Tuesday, according to sources.
“I’m certain they were planning to deploy him to attack the Department of Justice, write op-eds, and make phone calls behind the scenes,” the source told On The Money. “He’s their key antitrust voice on the right.”
Another insider compared Wright to legal scholar Robert Bork — a leading voice on antitrust law last century.
“Wright is the gold standard when it comes to antitrust,” the source noted. “Not only did he lead the group, he acted as advisors to politicians, and created a pipeline of people who thought like him to take positions of power.”
Wright received millions in advising fees from clients including Google and Amazon.
Big tech firms also donated millions to George Mason Law School where he taught, according to the report.
Over the years, Wright authored numerous articles about the dangers of breaking up monopolies.
He argued that the current antitrust law created the “world’s most successful companies are in the US because the world’s best competition law is here.”
However, he warned if the framework changed, “that is soon to be a thing of the past.”
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