NEW YORK - In one of the final steps in the Justice Department's antitrust prosecution of the credit card associations, Visa and MasterCard have filed court statements supporting their positions in the lawsuit.

Friday was the deadline set by Judge Barbara Jones of U.S. District Court in New York for the parties to produce their proposed "findings of fact and conclusions of law." The legal briefs were submitted under seal, which meant they were not available to the public.

The next court deadline is Oct. 4 when all sides must file rebuttals to their opponents' proposed findings of fact. The trial is to resume Oct. 16 for closing arguments.

"With the trial record closed and the summation phase of this lawsuit imminent, we think the evidence presented clearly demonstrates that the Department of Justice has simply failed to make a case and that the current industry structure should be preserved," said Noah Hanft, MasterCard International deputy general counsel, in a statement released Friday.

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