US judge pauses JEDI contract work following Amazon lawsuit

Tech giant claims the contract was wrongfully awarded to Microsoft

The Pentagon

A federal judge has granted Amazon’s request to temporarily halt work on the Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure (JEDI), the controversial project which involves almost 80% of the Department of Defence's IT systems being migrated to the cloud – a process that could last a decade.

According to court documents filed by AWS in December 2019, it is alleged that President Trump engaged in a series of “public and behind-the-scenes attacks” against “his perceived political enemy” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, reportedly telling Pentagon Secretary James Mattis to “screw Amazon”.

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Now it seems that Trump’s alleged comments might potentially come back to haunt him, as Amazon wants the President to explain his involvement in court.

Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith granted Amazon’s request to pause the JEDI contract work, but also ordered Amazon to pay $42 million (£33 million) if the injunction was proven to be wrongfully issued.

Campbell-Smith did not release a written opinion nor clarify whether the President would be forced to testify in the case, an unprecedented practice so far.

The US Pentagon had awarded the controversial $10 billion, 10-year contract to Microsoft last October, despite AWS being seen as a clear frontrunner by some.

Amazon filed an appeal two months later, suggesting at the time that “political influence” had led to the ‘biased’ contract ruling. Trump had locked horns with Bezos, whom he refers to as “Jeff Bozo”, as he is the current owner of The Washington Post - a publication which has been exceptionally critical of the President ever since his 2016 election.

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JEDI had been repeatedly embroiled in lawsuits and controversies. In late 2018, Oracle filed a lawsuit against the Department of Defence in the US Court of Federal Claims, arguing that it is illegal to award the cloud contract to only a single winning bidder.

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