US fires back at Apple bid to thwart e-book monitor

SAN FRANCISCO - US prosecutors on Friday fired back at Apple's bid to derail a court-ordered monitor in its e-book price-fixing case.

Apple is out of line asking for an emergency order stopping the monitor from tending to business until the outcome of an appeal in the case, Mark Ryan of the US Department of Justice argued in a court filing.

Ryan held firm that assigning the monitor was backed by law and sound judgment, and that Apple has been "stonewalling" to prevent oversight of the company.

"Almost immediately following the monitor's appointment, Apple began resisting his effort to do his job," Ryan said in the filing.

Apple's bid for an emergency stay came after a federal judge last week rejected a different request by Apple to block the monitor's work and chided the company for failing to cooperate with him.

US District Judge Denise Cote last week denied the tech giant's request to delay the work of former prosecutor Michael Bromwich, appointed last year to ensure Apple complies with an order to mend its ways after being found guilty of price-fixing.

The judge's 64-page order harshly criticised Apple for failing to work with Bromwich, and said she appointed him only after Apple made it clear it would not reform its practices on its own.

Cote said that the monitor has "important work to do" and interviewing Apple executives is part of it.

Apple failed to show it would be "irreparably harmed" by complying with the court order or with the monitor, according to the judge.

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