U.S. judge declines to dismiss Amazon allegations Trump interfered in JEDI contract

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The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

WASHINGTON, April 28 (Reuters) - A U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge on Wednesday refused to dismiss's (AMZN.O)claims alleging the Trump administration interfered in the Pentagon's award of its $10 billion JEDI cloud computing contract to Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) .

Judge Patricia E. Campbell-Smith disclosed her decision to reject motions to dismiss part of Amazon's 2019 lawsuit by Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Justice, filed when Donald Trump was still president, but did not immediately make public her opinion.

Amazon Web Services responded in a statement: "The record of improper influence by former President Trump is disturbing, and we are pleased the court will review the remarkable impact it had on the JEDI contract award."

While president, Trump publicly derided Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and repeatedly criticized the company. Amazon had been seen as a front-runner to win the contract.

In September, the U.S. Defense Department completed a comprehensive re-evaluation and said it determined that Microsoft still represented the best value for the government.

Microsoft said in a statement the ruling "changes little. Not once, but twice, professional procurement staff at the (Defense Department) chose Microsoft after a thorough review."

The company added it has "continued for more than a year to do the internal work necessary to move forward on JEDI quickly."

The contract remains on hold after Judge Campbell-Smith granted Amazon's request in February 2020 to temporarily halt the deal from moving forward.

The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud (JEDI) contract could reach as much as $10 billion and is part of a broader digital modernization of the Pentagon aimed at making it more technologically agile.

Amazon filed its lawsuit in November 2019, weeks after the contract was awarded to Microsoft. It said the Pentagon decision was full of "egregious errors", which it suggested were a result of "improper pressure from Trump."

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler

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