Volkswagen calls for delay of US trial over Nazi jab
February 3, 2018
The US unit of Volkswagen has called for the Dieselgate trials to be delayed, after a plaintiffs' lawyer linked the firm with the Holocaust. The lawyer, Michael Melkersen, made the comments in a Netflix documentary.
Representatives of Volkswagen's US subsidiary asked a Virginia court for a delay of a minimum of six months before proceeding with lawsuits over forged emissions tests. The reason, according to the carmaker, is an "inflammatory" statement by the car buyers' lawyer in the new Netflix documentary series "Dirty Money."
The opening episode of "Dirty Money" deals with the Volkswagen emissions scandal. In it, lawyer Michael Melkersen comments on recent revelations about Volkswagen's animal testing, specifically on exposing monkeys to diesel fumes.
"One cannot help but think back 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," Melkersen says in the documentary, just before a picture of Adolf Hitler appears on the screen.
The statement refers to the support the Nazi regime provided the company in Volkswagen's early days.
In their legal filing, Volkswagen's representatives claim that "pre-trial publicity has connected [the German-based company] directly with Hitler and the Holocaust," which could make juries biased and prevent a fair trial.
Fraud trials starting soon
Volkswagen has been facing a PR and legal nightmare since the Dieselgate scandal first broke in 2015, showing that the company deliberately manipulated emissions tests to make their cars appear less harmful for the environment.