FILE PHOTO: A Google sign is shown at one of the company's office complexes in Irvine, California, U.S., July 27, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The judge hearing the U.S. Justice Department's antitrust case against Alphabet Inc's Google suggested a trial date of Sept. 12, 2023, on Friday.U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta suggested the date during a status conference, and counsel for the two sides did not object. Mehta noted that the two sides appeared to expect that discovery would be completed in March 2022, with other pretrial matters not addressed until early 2023."It seems to me that we're looking at late summer, early fall of 2023 for a trial, a potential trial," said Mehta before suggesting Sept. 12, 2023, for a potential trial date.The two sides also began the process of at least partially consolidating the government's case with a lawsuit that 38 states and territories filed against Google on Thursday, specifically in terms of pre-trial matters.The state case is broader than the Justice Department's. The Justice Department's lawsuit focused on Google's search and search advertising while the state case filed this week included what it said was Google's efforts to extend its dominance to devices like speakers, televisions and even smart cars.Google has denied wrongdoing.California, which is joining the Justice Department case along with Wisconsin and Michigan, indicated that it would have to make disclosures to third parties but gave no details. "I know that we have a separate investigative file," said Paula Blizzard, an attorney with the California attorney general's office.Google's lawyers and the Justice Department also seemed close to wrapping up details of an order protecting confidential information from corporations which helped with the government's case as well as on a scheduling order. Both could be completed next week.The next status hearing was set for Jan. 21. (Reporting by Diane Bartz; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Chizu Nomiyama)
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