Travis Kalanick Hires Former U.S. Attorney Haag as Lawyer

Updated on
  • Ex-Uber CEO lawyers-up ahead of questioning in Waymo lawsuit
  • Kalanick’s two-attorney team hails from San Francisco’s Orrick

Travis Kalanick's Tumultuous Reign at Uber

Ex-Uber Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick hired former San Francisco U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag and one of her colleagues at Orrick to represent him as the ride-hailing giant heads toward a trial in Waymo’s trade-secrets lawsuit over driverless technology.

Haag held her post as Northern California’s top prosecutor from 2010 to 2015 under President Barack Obama, leading one of the largest regional outposts of the Justice Department and one of the most active in white-collar prosecutions. The other attorney Kalanick retained from the San Francisco-based law firm, Walt Brown, also specializes in corporate criminal defense. Orrick confirmed the hiring while declining to comment further.

Kalanick, who resigned as Uber’s chief in June under pressure from investors, faces questioning Thursday by Waymo’s attorneys as they gather evidence in the high-stakes self-driving car lawsuit that’s set for trial in October.

Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo claims that in 2015, one of its lead engineers and Uber hatched a plan for him to steal more than 14,000 proprietary files, including the designs for lidar technology that helps driverless cars see their surroundings. Uber, which acquired engineer Anthony Levandowski’s company in August in a $680 million stock deal, has denied the allegations.

The judge handling the Waymo case in May referred it to the San Francisco U.S. Attorney’s office for possible investigation.

Among the high-profile cases Haag handled, her team secured a 15-year prison sentence for a California businessman convicted in 2014 of stealing DuPont Co. trade secrets to help a Chinese company build a manufacturing plant to produce titanium dioxide, used to make white pigment for everything from paint to the filling in Oreo cookies.

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(Updates with details of Haag’s tenure as prosecutor in second paragraph.)
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