Uber employees researching rivals were given training with the goal to "impede, obstruct or influence any lawsuit against Uber", Jacobs said, including a communication strategy "to ensure we didn't create a paper trail that came back to haunt the company in any potential civil or criminal litigation". "(Uber law firm) Morrison & Foerster and rest of the Uber lawyers withheld evidence, (despite) a direct order to produce stuff like that".
The hearing instead quickly turned into a forum raising more questions about Uber's ethics and corporate culture.
Jacobs testified that the surveillance team used "anonymous servers" separate from the "main part of Uber".
Uber has denied using Waymo trade secrets and rejects the financial damages claim, but has fired the leader of its autonomous vehicle division, who is alleged to have stolen Waymo data before joining Uber. In October, he chided Uber layers for disclosing thousands of emails to Waymo just before the trial had been set to begin. "I can't trust anything you say because it has been proven wrong so many times", Alsup told Uber attorney Arturo Gonzalez.
His lawyer subsequently wrote a 37-page letter summarizing allegations that Uber used an espionage team to steal its competitors' trade secrets and tried to hide the misconduct by using computers and other devices created to leave no digital trails.
Jacobs said he learned of this activity through discussions at Uber with his manager and other colleagues.
Alsup described the allegations in the letter as "scandalous" and lashed out at Uber's legal team for not informing him about them before he was notified by the Justice Department.
"There is a 50-50 chance that this is going to turn out very bad for Uber", Alsup said. The case centers around former Google employee Anthony Levandowski, who allegedly stole 14,000 "highly confidential" files before leaving the company to start his own self-driving truck startup. The markdown stems, in part, from the turmoil that has stained Uber's reputation and opened opportunities for rivals such as Lyft to lure away alienated passengers looking for alternative rides.