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Court may call back Lessig

The judge overseeing the government's antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft reportedly may ask the former adviser to return.

The judge overseeing the government's antitrust lawsuit against software giant Microsoft may ask a former adviser to return after Microsoft managed to oust him from his role earlier this year, according to a report.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson has told lawyers for both sides that he may ask Harvard University's computer-law expert Lawrence Lessig to write a "friend of the court" brief summarizing his views on the case, according to sources close to the case, the Washington Post reported.

Late last year, the judge asked Lessig to prepare a report on technical issues raised in an earlier antitrust scrimmage between Microsoft and the Justice Department. Microsoft objected, saying that Lessig was biased against the company. An appeals court eventually sided with the software company and ejected Lessig.

Legal specialists said the move may suggest that the judge is taking a skeptical view of Microsoft's legal arguments, the Washington Post reported.

In May, the Justice Department and 20 states sued Microsoft, alleging that its 90 percent market share in operating system software amounts to a monopoly, and that the company illegally abused the power it gained from that monopoly.

The landmark antitrust trial of the software giant begins on October 15.