The second day on the stand for Uber ex-CEO Travis Kalanick gets off to a riveting start as Waymo lawyers grill him about what he knew and when he knew it.
It was early morning, but courtroom No. 12 in San Francisco’s federal court was already filled. The judge sat at the bench, nearly two dozen lawyers in dark suits flanked the counsel tables and rows of reporters filled the gallery. All were waiting for the witness to take the stand.
Outside in the hallway, former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick paced back and forth taking swigs from a plastic water bottle. He was surrounded by a small entourage of people who appeared to be lawyers and handlers, along with his dad. He walked over to one of his colleagues and said he’ll “be good in two hours.”
In two hours, he would finish the second day of grueling testimony in one the most-watched Silicon Valley trials in history.
The case was brought by Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Google parent company Alphabet, in February last year. It revolves around allegations that Uber stole trade secrets to use for its own self-driving program.
Uber calls these claims “baseless.” But if the jury decides differently, the ride-hailing company may be forced to pay nearly $2 billion in damages and halt autonomous vehicle project.
‘Greed is good’
During Kalanick’s testimony on Tuesday and Wednesday, Waymo’s lawyers tried to paint him as a greedy egotist who would stop at nothing to make sure his company came out on top. They showed text messages, email exchanges and other internal documents full of Silicon Valley bro speak and cocky zeal.
Minutes from an April 28, 2016, meeting read: “Top priorities from [Travis Kalanick] … cheat codes, find them, use them.”
Waymo attorney Charles Verhoeven: “You said this in a meeting, didn’t you?”
Kalanick: “It’s quite possible.”
Verhoeven: “The golden time is over. It’s war time”?
Kalanick: “It sounds like something I would say.”