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The Time Warner Center in New York on Tuesday, June 12, 2018. A federal judge has approved the $85.4 billion merger between AT&T and Time Warner over the objections of the Justice Dept., and AT&T announced late Thursday that it completed the acquisition.

The Time Warner Center in New York on Tuesday, June 12, 2018. A federal judge has approved the $85.4 billion merger between AT&T and Time Warner over the objections of the Justice Dept., and AT&T announced late Thursday that it completed the acquisition. (Richard B. Levine/Sipa USA/TNS)

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department is appealing the ruling a federal judge issued last month that allowed AT&T Inc. to purchase Time Warner Inc. in the biggest antitrust case of this century.

Craig Conrath, one of the Justice Department lawyers who argued the case, submitted the formal notice of its appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Thursday.

The notice was one sentence and a Justice Department spokesman declined to comment further.

The Justice Department's move comes after lawyers there decided not to seek an emergency stay of U.S. District Judge Richard Leon's June 12 ruling that cleared the way for the $85.4-billion deal after a six-week trial

Leon had strongly urged the Justice Department not to seek the stay pending appeal, warning it could cause the merger to collapse because of a June 21 deadline the companies had set to close.

AT&T and Time Warner closed the deal June 15.

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

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