Apple's late founder, Steve Jobs, was a key figure Monday in the Justice Department's suit against the Silicon Valley giant for allegedly leading an illegal scheme to raise the prices of e-books.

But the focus on Jobs' role in conversations and deals made three years ago creates an odd dilemma for the court and was protested by Apple's attorneys. Justice painted the iconic tech leader as the "chief ringleader" of a joint scheme with publishers to raise prices of e-books by $3 to $5 to break Amazon's dominance and fatten their profits.

But Jobs can't be questioned to put his emails into context, Apple's attorneys said. The court would be left to guess what Jobs was thinking in his comments to journalists and in emails to publishing executives, they argued.