DaimlerChrysler AG chief executive Juergen Schrempp said he is willing to answer questions in court about 67 pages of notes that were withheld from opposition lawyers until the final stages of the ongoing fraud trial.
In a letter sent Tuesday to U.S. Judge Joseph Farnan, the automaker's attorneys said they also would try to bring back former Chrysler president Thomas Stallkamp to testify about the notes, taken during the 1998 merger talks by former DaimlerChrysler director Gary Valade, The Detroit News reported Wednesday.
Attorneys for Kirk Kerkorian, once Chrysler's largest shareholder and who is suing DaimlerChrysler and Schrempp for more than $1 billion for fraud, want to question Schrempp and Stallkamp again in light of statements attributed to top managers in the notes.
Farnan halted the trial on Dec. 16 after DaimlerChrysler's attorneys revealed the existence of the notes detailing high-level meetings to discuss the $36 billion merger of Daimler-Benz AG and Chrysler Corp.
Earlier this month, an official appointed by the court to determine why the documents were presented so late said it appeared to be an accident.
Special master Collins Seitz Jr. also said DaimlerChrysler didn't act in bad faith.
"I find that the most likely explanation for the late production of documents is careless copying of Mr. Valade's documents by outside copy vendors, discovered by Mr. Valade and the attorneys just before Mr. Valade's testimony," Seitz wrote in the decision.
The judge has not set a date to resume the trial. Kerkorian's team contends that the notes bolster its claim that Schrempp deceived investors when he portrayed the deal as a merger of equals.
Jay Eisenhofer, an attorney representing institutional investors who settled a similar case with DaimlerChrysler last fall, said the notes contained no new dramatic evidence.
Schrempp testified in December that he never sought to take over Chrysler.
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