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AT&T, Justice Dept. argue over when to start Time Warner fight

AT&T is shooting for a start day as soon as possible, while the agency is looking to drag this out.

AT&T adds 2.8 million customers
AT&T is eager to start the trial. 
Richard Levine/Corbis via Getty

AT&T and the US Department of Justice will meet in court Thursday to determine when they need to meet in court later. 

The Dallas-based telecommunications giant is looking to kickstart its legal fight against the Justice Department, which sued to block AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner.

AT&T was aiming for the trial to begin on Feb. 20, according to Reuters, while the Justice Department wanted to begin on May 7. 

The judge in the case decided to begin the trial on March 19. 

There's an incentive for AT&T to begin sooner since it costs the company to hold the deal together. The company has already pushed back the deadline on the deal to April 22 and faces a potential break-up fee of $500 million if the transaction falls through. 

Time Warner is expected to play a critical role in AT&T's attempts to turn itself into an entertainment powerhouse that would both create and deliver TV shows, movies and music. 

"We thank the Court for its deliberate and expeditious approach to this matter," said AT&T General Counsel David McAtee. 

The Justice Department said it is "looking forward to its day in court on behalf of the American consumer."

Update, 2:26 p.m. PT: To include a set court date for the trial.