Uber-Waymo Trial takes another big turn


(Bick Bhangoo) #1

Just when you thought all the dirt had come off in the Uber Waymo case, you find that the entire inner coating was covered in mud. It looks like a bad day for Uber executives; the new ones certainly did not know about any of the happenings that would arise, if they had they wouldn't have taken on the new work load unless they just did it for the wage and to hell with the company.

Uber lawyers were berated by Judge Aspen when he found out about the latest piece of information that was kept secret. Only when the US Attorney's Office sent explosive evidence to the Judge, it is a rare move when the Department of Justice gets involved in a trial case. They sent to Judge Aspen a 37-page testimony of ex Uber employee, Richard Jacobs, who was Uber's Global Intelligence manager until April 2017, when he resigned, and finally received a golden handshake from Uber for the sum of $4.5 million after sending in his findings, the 37-page letter to Uber. "Jacob's Letter" is the name given to this testimony and is sheds light on how Uber did business back in the days of Travis Kalanick. However, since the letter was not given by Uber to the Judge, it points to a very serious breach of legal ethics and points to the fact that Uber might not have changed so much even when replacing Kalanick with Khosrowshahi.

Jacobs took the stand in court on Tuesday, and his testimony is specifically damaging to Uber. Jacobs claims that his intelligence group had been given direct orders to infiltrate rival companies abroad and steal confidential information and trade secrets. This task was key for Uber to ascertain how their rivals managed certain features of their business and gave Uber an added advantage on how to circumvent the competition.

Jacobs stated that he considered the tasks set out as unethical and patently illegal. He went on to state that Uber's legal counsel trained employees how to communicate using special messaging language and techniques as well as phones and apps that would not lead back to Uber. The whole process was designed to separate any possibilities of litigation in the future. Jacobs stated that Uber sent their lawyers to Pittsburgh where the Uber AV program is being developed with the intention to assure that all of Uber's illegal activities would remain secret.

To counter Jacob's testimony, Uber brought forward Ed Russo, a security employee that Uber used to teach the Pittsburgh autonomous vehicle drivers and technicians how to manage a secure practice including how to manage passwords and deal with computer security issues. He denied any knowledge of Uber trying to teach employees how to hide illegal activities.

Jacobs did state on the stand that he had no knowledge of any Waymo data being stolen and that any testimony given today does not change the merits of the case being tested.

The new data source and Jacobs testimony were enough to make U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup decided to delay the trial and weigh the evidence that has been presented and more importantly the way it was presented. Angela Padilla, Uber's in-house counsel, will take the stand on Wednesday and will most probably be asked to shed more light on "Jacobs Letter."

Judge Alsup concluded the day by telling Uber's representing counsel that their client was now in a bad way.

Anthony Levandowski, the root of the Uber-Waymo case, accused of stealing 14,000 confidential documents from Waymo when he worked there as a chief engineer. Them setup his startup Ottomotto, which he subsequently tried to merger with Uber.


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