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DOJ seeks to delay airline merger trial

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department asked for a delay in the trial over the merger of American Airlines and US Airways because of the shutdown of the federal government.

The merger was weeks away from closing when the government sued to block it on antitrust grounds. The trial in the case is set to begin on Nov. 25.

On Tuesday the government asked for a delay. Its court papers argue that the government shutdown prevents it from getting ready for the trial.

There may be a way out. The Justice Department says that if the court orders the trial to go forward, its lawyers can keep working because the court order would be its legal authorization for the spending.