A single letter may change the course of a billion-dollar civil suit between Uber and Waymo, the self-driving car division of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

That letter, a previously undisclosed 37-page document that was discovered by the court only last week, alleges that the ride-hailing giant developed secret, off-the-books efforts to steal trade secrets from rivals and cover its tracks. On Tuesday, Waymo’s lawyers read excerpts of that document aloud to a court, while its signatory, former Uber employee Ric Jacobs, sat on the stand and testified on its wide-ranging allegations.

The court was expected to release the letter to the public on Tuesday night, but Jacobs filed a motion at the last minute to designate it as confidential, citing his own privacy and the nature of the allegations to support his argument. In parts of the letter that were read in court, Jacobs’ lawyers describe a secretive internal team that used ephemeral messaging platforms and stored data separate from Uber’s main servers “to evade, impede, obstruct, influence several ongoing lawsuits against Uber.”

The letter may provide Waymo with a decisive piece of evidence to support its allegation that Uber stole its trade secrets and tried to cover up their theft. The revelation of the letter last week by a US attorney, who then notified the district court, caused Judge William Alsup to delay jury selection. He sharply criticized Uber for its failure to disclose the information. Alsup cut a visibly frustrated figure in court on Tuesday, noting that more time was needed to get “to the bottom of this shadow…

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