July 18 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion Wednesday requesting an accelerated timeline for its appeal of a judge's decision to approve a merger between AT&T and Time Warner.
In the filing, the Justice Department asked the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court of Appeals to expedite the appeal by filing all legal briefs before October 18 and commencing oral arguments shortly afterward.
AT&T didn't object to the expedited timeline, according to the filing. The company, which merged with Time Warner days after the initial ruling, previously agreed to hold Time Warner's Turner cable networks in a separate business unit during any appeals-court proceedings through next February.
The Justice Department said any delay in deciding the appeal "will make it increasingly difficult to unwind the merger" if it is granted.
"If the appeal is not decided by then, AT&T immediately can be expected to exercise the increased bargaining leverage that it would gain from control of Turner," the filing stated.
The department filed its appeal against U.S. District Judge Richard Leon's decision to OK the $85.4 billion merger last week, despite Leon stating he didn't believe the government had "a likelihood of success" on merit of appeal.
Leon ruled to allow the deal permitting AT&T -- which owns DirecTV -- to acquire Time Warner and its properties including CNN, HBO, TBS and TNT to go through, rejecting the government's argument that the merger would restrict pay-TV competition
The Justice Department reiterated its stance in its filing on Wednesday, saying Leon rejected "fundamental economic principles" in his decision.
"The government's case is based on well-accepted and non-controversial economic principles of bargaining, but the district court effectively discarded those principles and their logical implication that the merged firm will raise prices to its rivals. In so doing, the Court committed multiple errors," the department said.