Key Witness Won't Talk in Google V. Uber Self-Driving Car Case

But that won't stop the judge or Google from pushing forward. 

Anthony Levandowski
Eric Risberg—AP

Anthony Levandowski, a former Google employee and founder of Otto, the self-driving truck company that Uber acquired, pleaded the Fifth Amendment on Wednesday to prevent any self-incrimination in the Google versus Uber court case over allegedly stolen self-driving car tech, USA Today reports.

The choice to stay quiet was recommended by one of Levandowski's two lawyers, Miles Ehrlich. Counsel recommended this course of action because of "the potential for criminal action," according to the report. 

Google's self-driving car division Waymo claims that Otto developed its tech based on work and research that Levandowski stole right before he left Google. Currently, Levandowski is refusing to hand over the 14,000 documents that Google claims he took. Though Levandowski isn't the defendant in this lawsuit, he is a key player in the case because of the role Google is accusing him of playing between the two companies. Google is working to push a temporary injunction that would stop Uber from using any tech that is actually Google's own property, USA Today reports.

If the injunction goes through, it could halt Uber's testing of its autonomous cars. And apparently, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup has no issue with that.

"If you think for a moment that I'm going to stay my hand because your guy is taking the Fifth Amendment, and not issue a preliminary injunction to shut down what happened here, you're wrong," said Alsup, according to USA Today