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The U.S. judge postpones Amazon’s contestation of the Pentagon JEDI contract



WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An American judge filed a lawsuit on Friday from Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) Question the Pentagon’s decision to place a $ 10 billion contract with Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O).

FILE PHOTO: In this illustration from March 25, 2020 there is a 3D printed Amazon mail package on a keyboard. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic

Judge Patricia E. Campbell-Smith accepted the Pentagon̵

7;s request that further action be taken on the lawsuit to allow the military to reconsider aspects of the decision contested by Amazon, which was initially considered a favorite for winning the award. She ordered that the case be put on hold until August 17, but said that it could be extended or shortened depending on the length of the review.

Known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI), the cloud computing contract is designed to give the military better access to data and technology from remote locations.

The November lawsuit filed with Amazon said the Department of Defense’s decision was full of “tremendous errors” due to the “undue pressure from President Donald Trump to repeatedly launch public and behind-the-scenes attacks” around the Contract to steer Amazon away “to harm its perceived political enemy,” Amazon chief Jeff Bezos.

Trump publicly mocked Bezos and accused the Washington Post newspaper owned by Bezos of unfair reporting.

Campbell-Smith released a statement on March 7, stating that Amazon is likely to succeed on one key argument of its challenge, “the merits of its argument that the DOD mispriced Microsoft’s data storage in a price scenario.” She said Amazon would likely show that the Microsoft scenario was not “technically feasible” according to the Pentagon.

Trump did not mention the statement, nor did Amazon’s allegations of inappropriate influence be mentioned.

The Pentagon had announced that it would reconsider its assessment of the technical aspects of the judge’s scenario if it returned the contract to the military for further review. The Pentagon added that this would give it “an opportunity to rethink the pricing decision in light of (Amazon) ‘s allegations.”

Amazon didn’t comment immediately on Friday.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has dismissed the bias and said the Pentagon made its choice fairly and freely with no outside influence.

The Pentagon general inspector said on Wednesday that he could not determine whether the White House had influenced the award after senior officials from the Department of Defense claimed “President’s communication privilege.”

Reporting by David Shepardson; Edited by Sonya Hepinstall

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