Amazon Web Services said on Monday it was seeking to depose President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Esper in its lawsuit over whether the president was trying "to screw Amazon" when it awarded a Pentagon contract for cloud computing to rival Microsoft Corp.
The Amazon unit alleged that Trump, who has publicly derided Amazon head Jeff Bezos and repeatedly criticized the company, exerted undue influence on the decision to deny it the US$10 billion contract.
Known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud, or JEDI, the contract is intended to give the military better access to data and technology from remote locations.
In the lawsuit, Amazon said it seeks discovery "demonstrating exactly how President Trump's order to ‘screw Amazon’ was carried out during the decision making process."
Without this, "the Court cannot objectively and fully evaluate AWS's credible and well-grounded allegations about bias and bad faith," the lawsuit said.
An Amazon spokesperson said that "President Trump has repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to use his position as President and Commander in Chief to interfere with government functions – including federal procurements – to advance his personal agenda."
"The question is whether the President of the United States should be allowed to use the budget of the DoD to pursue his own personal and political ends," the spokesperson added.
Last month, Amazon filed a motion in court to delay the Department of Defense deal with Microsoft until a court rules on its protest of the contract award.
The procurement process has been delayed by legal complaints and conflict of interest allegations. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has denied that there was bias and said the Pentagon made its choice fairly and freely without external influence.
(Reporting by David Shepardson and Nandita Bose in Washington; Additional reporting by Mike Stone and Lisa Lambert; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio)