A federal judge handed down his decision at around two o'clock Tuesday afternoon to deny an antitrust lawsuit. The International Association of Machinists filed the suit in hopes of blocking the sale of the Verso Paper Mill in Bucksport to a Canadian scrap metal dealer.

Judge John Woodcock writes that the union did not offer substantial proof that the sale to AIM Development LLC of Canada constitutes "a conspiracy to monopolize" within the paper industry. He had also refused to include in his decision several letters written by Governor Paul Lepage and others, stating that they were not entered into evidence through proper channels.

Woodcock suggested at a hearing earlier in the day that all parties involved, including Verso officials, union representatives, officials from AIM Development, and any parties interested in purchasing and continuing production at the mill, should sit down and come to an agreement. Woodcock said he would even provide a federal mediator.

Three other firms say they are interested in purchasing the mill to reopen it. The mill closed in December, laying off more than 500 workers.