DETROIT (WWJ) – “In the fall of 2002, General Motors personnel made a decision that would lead to catastrophic results – A GM engineer chose to use an ignition switch in certain cars that was so far below GM’s own specification that it failed to keep the car powered on in circumstances that drivers could encounter, resulting in moving stalls on the highway as well as loss of power on rough terrain” … Details the opening remarks on GM’s report to the board of directors regarding the ignition switch recalls.
While their own investigation may appear damning enough, what legal issue might employees or the company itself face as the investigation continues?
WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton addresses the question of whether there might be legal charges brought against any of the 15 GM employees that have been fired:
“I think there is absolutely a possible if fraud, or some cover-up, or some criminal charges because of what happened at General Motors. The fact that these fifteen people were fired is irrelevant with regard to the criminal charges,” Langton said.
He goes on to note that if the prosecutor can prove some intention act, that they deliberately defrauded or hurt some people, then we can expect criminal charges.
“If the government of the United States believes that certain individuals deliberately acted to hurt people, whatever they did, yes, that’s criminal,” said Langton. “They will bring criminal charges.”
Langton said that the government could also bring criminal charges against the company, if there was a company kind of conspiracy to injure people or mislead customers.
Again, the decision to bring charges against the fired workers, or the automaker, will be made by the Justice Department.