After speeding towards the precipice of total failure, AT&T won a little victory in its controversial quest to merge with T-Mobile by winning a federal judge's permission to delay the court case until next year. Noting that the Department of Justice joined AT&T in requesting more time, Michael J. de la Merced reports at The New York Times's Dealbook blog reports:

AT&T and Deutsche Telekom requested a stay of proceedings in the Justice Department’s lawsuit to block AT&T’s $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile USA, as the two telecommunications giants weigh their options for the deal.

The judge overseeing the lawsuit, Ellen S. Huvelle of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, agreed on Monday to stay court proceedings until Jan. 18. AT&T and Deutsche Telekom plan to use the time to "evaluate all options."

It's hard to imagine that AT&T will figure out a way to alleviate the anti-trust fears the merger in just a month. But most options are better than coughing up $4 billion as promised if the deal falls through completely.