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Uber's headquarters in San Francisco. Eric Risberg / AP

A San Francisco judge (again) delayed Waymo's upcoming trial against Uber after a mysterious letter from a former employee of the ride-hailing company surfaced. The judge granted Waymo's request for more time to prepare for the trial, since the letter had been withheld by Uber.

Why it matters: The letter was uncovered last week, when the Department of Justice contacted the presiding judge about its existence. Though the letter's contents aren't publicly available, and even Waymo's lawyers have only seen a redacted version of it, it appears to contain important information about Uber's acquisition of Otto Trucking. It also appears to explain why the thousands of proprietary files Waymo says its former employee took with him never seemed to have made it onto Uber's computers.

What we know about the letter:

  • It was sent by a lawyer for then-Uber risk analyst Richard Jacobs on May 7, 2017 to then-Uber assistant general counsel Angela Padilla.
  • Uber never mentioned the letter's existence to Waymo or the court, though Waymo says it should have because it pertains to several document requests it made as part of the discovery process.
  • The letter appears to contain information about sensor-related work done by Anthony Levandowski, the former Waymo employee whose startup Uber acquired.
  • Also, "the Jacobs Letter indicates that there may be a very good reason why the '14,000 files in question' were supposedly not found on Uber's servers," in reference to the Waymo documents Levandowski allegedly took.
  • Court documents (which are heavily redacted) hint that the letter shows that Uber hid or destroyed evidence relevant to this lawsuit, and did the same as part of its acquisition of Levandowski's company last year.
  • Based on the letter, Waymo says it now needs to interview several Uber employees and agents, including former CEO Travis Kalanick and former security chief Joe Sullivan.

Go deeper

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

8 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.