Raising a specter of the old Watergate question – what did the President know and when – internal General Motors documents reveal that the maker ordered 500,000 replacement parts months before alerting federal regulators about a faulty ignition switch now linked to at least 32 deaths.
The e-mails were released today by Texas personal injury attorney Robert Hilliard who is handling some of the many lawsuits filed against GM in the wake of its February announcement of a recall covering 2.6 million vehicles sold in the U.S. They were equipped with ignition switches that could inadvertently shut off a vehicle and disable its airbag system. The administrator overseeing a victims’ compensation fund established by the maker has so far acknowledged the problem led to 32 deaths – a figure that could yet go higher.
“This pulls the curtain back completely and proves GM has not been forthright,” Hilliard said, referring to documents that appear to show that GM knew at least as early as December 18, 2013 that the switches needed to be replaced.