According to a Reuters report, the top judge in the second-highest court in the European Union (EU) wants to remove the judge who's currently overseeing Microsoft's antitrust case. Judge Bo Vesterdorf, president of the EU's Court of First Instance, contacted both Microsoft and the European Commission over the weekend to apprise them of the plan.
Judge Hubert Legal (yes, seriously) heads the panel of five judges that's currently hearing the Microsoft case. However, Judge Legal is under fire for a controversial article he wrote (published in a French journal), in which he referred to judges' clerks as "ayatollahs of free enterprise" who give the impression of "arbitrary power." The comments angered various EU judges (and, presumably, their clerks).
According to Judge Vesterdorf, the EU should move Microsoft's case to a larger judicial panel, which he will head. Members of the EU's 25-judge Court of First Instance will meet this week to vote on the proposal. Judge Legal originally planned to conclude the case by mid-2006, so the court will have to consider how such a plan could affect the case's schedule.
This isn't the first time that a judge involved with a Microsoft antitrust case has found himself in legal hot water because of controversial comments. US District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson was eventually removed from Microsoft's US antitrust case after reporters published his negative comments about the company. Judge Jackson has said that his comments weren't supposed to have been published until after the trial had concluded.