Nerval's Lobster writes "Apple could face a difficult time winning its court case against the U.S. Department of Justice over e-book pricing, according to the federal judge overseeing the trial. 'I believe that the government will be able to show at trial direct evidence that Apple knowingly participated in and facilitated a conspiracy to raise prices of e-books,' U.S. District Judge Denise Cote said during a May 23 pretrial hearing, according to Reuters, 'and that the circumstantial evidence in this case, including the terms of the agreements, will confirm that.' Apple's legal counsel is a bit perturbed over her comments. 'We strongly disagree with the court's preliminary statements about the case today,' Apple lawyer Orin Snyder wrote in a statement also reprinted by Reuters. The Justice Department has asserted that Apple, along with those publishers, conspired to raise retail e-book prices in tandem 'and eliminate price competition, substantially increasing prices paid by consumers.' Apple battles Amazon in the e-book space, with the latter company achieving great success over the past few years by driving down the price of e-books and Kindle e-readers; while Apple co-founder insisted in emails to News Corp executive James Murdoch (son of Rupert Murdoch), that Amazon's pricing was ultimately unsustainable, the online retailer shows no signs of flagging with regard to its publishing-industry clout."