Volkswagen Asks For Trial Delay After Lawyer Mentions Monkey Gassing Scandal In Netflix Documentary
VW tries some legal maneuvering amid latest scandalby Jonathan Lopez, on
Late last month, it was revealed that Volkswagen, BMW, and Daimler funded scientific studies to help promote the idea that modern diesel engines run cleaner than older diesels. It turned out the studies involved forcing monkeys to breathe diesel fumes in an airtight chamber, prompting one lawyer on the diesel owner’s side of the scandal to draw comparisons to Adolf Hitler and Nazis. Now, Volkswagen says the remarks could bias the jury in its latest Diesel Gate trial cases.
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Michael Melkersen, who's involved as a lawyer representing more than 300 VW diesel owners in the U.S. , recently addressed the monkey gassing scandal in a Netflix special entitled “Dirty Money,” wherein he draws similarities to Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.
Before we get to the news, a brief recap. Back in 2015, Volkswagen got caught installing so-called “defeat devices” on millions of its diesel-powered vehicles. These devices altered the engine tuning to emit fewer emissions during lab tests, but up to 40 times more NOx emissions during normal operation on the street. Dubbed Diesel Gate, VW pled guilty to conspiracy and fraud and was fined $26 billion.
Then just a few weeks ago, it was revealed that VW, BMW, and Daimler funded a group called the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector, or E.U.G.T, which conducted a series of scientific studies back in 2014 that aimed at proving modern diesels ran cleaner than older diesels. Part of the research involved forcing test monkeys to breathe diesel fumes in an airtight chamber. While the three German automakers initially defended the work, VW ended up doing an about-face, with CEO Mattias Muller condemning the studies and saying “The methods used by E.U.G.T. were wrong, they were unethical and repulsive. I am sorry that Volkswagen was involved in the matter as one of the sponsors of E.U.G.T.”
Now, here’s the latest. Volkswagen is currently facing several additional court trials in the U.S. over the Diesel Gate scandal which are separate from the large settlement from 2016. Michael Melkersen, who’s involved as a lawyer representing more than 300 VW diesel owners in the U.S. , recently addressed the monkey gassing scandal in a Netflix special entitled “Dirty Money,” wherein he draws similarities to Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.
VW's lawyers last Friday asked to delay the trial by six months over fears that the “inflammatory” remarks made by Melkersen would make the jury prejudice against the defendants.
“One cannot help to think throughout history of another series of events involving individuals being gassed by a person who was actually at the opening of the very first Volkswagen factory,” he states in the video.
In response, VW’s lawyers last Friday asked to delay the trial by six months over fears that the “inflammatory” remarks made by Melkersen would make the jury prejudice against the defendants.
In an interview with Reuters, Melkersen responded to the move by calling it “hogwash,” later adding “This is another tactic to postpone their day of reckoning.”
Despite ongoing PR battles over the Diesel Gate scandal, VW still managed to post record profits last year. The automaker is currently attempting to re-brand itself as a leader in all-electric and hybrid technology.
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