Waymo asks Uber’s top lawyer: “Does Uber pay money to extortionists?”

Enlarge (credit: Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO—Under intense questioning by Waymo, Uber’s general counsel, Angela Padilla, testified Wednesday that former employee Richard Jacobs was trying to extort the company when he submitted an explosive legal demand letter alleging possible criminal behavior on the part of himself and his former colleagues.

Yet, somehow, Uber settled legal demands made on behalf of Jacobs, who worked at one of Uber's most secretive internal divisions and was paid a total of $4.5 million to end his legal claims.

Jacobs, who testified Tuesday in court, disclosed those specific amounts. In a strange twist, however, Jacobs also repudiated some of the specific allegations that were in the letter written by his then-lawyer, Clayton Halunen, on Jacobs’ behalf. Padilla told the court that this letter amounted to extortion.

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