Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Funny photo: former Qualcomm president duct-tapes gate to avoid testifying at January FTC trial

The following picture shows the pedestrian gate of former Qualcomm president Derek Aberle's San Diego home. Even high-tech execs resort to no-tech means--good ol' duct tape, in this case--when trying to avoid having to testify in court (this post continues below the image):

Last week the Federal Trade Commission requested the court's permission to serve trial subpoenas on former Qualcomm president Derek Aberle and former Qualcomm vice chairman Steven Altman by mail after the two "repeatedly evaded attempts to personally serve subpoenas seeking their apperance at [the January 2019 FTC v. Qualcomm] trial."

In order to document those fruitless efforts, the FTC attached, among other things, a report by a San Diego process server, Mr. Manfred Arnold Briese, Jr.:

"12/10/2018 at 4:45- Arrived at location to relieve previous server [so they were basically camping outside the property]

5:40pm-Black Land Rover SUV arrived with female adult and minor male

5:45pm- Minor male came out to pedestrian gate and duct taped it closed [document by the photo shown further above]

6:26pm- Black SUV left residence and returned at 6:35pm.

10:00pm-No activity. Left location."

[and a similar report for the following day]

The FTC also tried to serve the subpoenas through Cravath, a law firm representing Qualcomm but also Messrs. Altman and Aberle at earlier depositions. However, Cravath denied being authorized to accept documents on behalf of Messrs. Altman and Aberle, pointing to the fact that Mr. Aberle is part of a group formed by former Qualcomm chairman Paul Jacobs, trying to raise funds to take over (and privatize) Qualcomm.

Mr. Aberle apparently concluded that testifying at trial wouldn't be in his interest. He doesn't want to do anyone a favor by showing up. He wants to be left alone. So he's hiding behind a duct-taped gate--or he's somewhere else, but the people currently living on his property are hiding.

What won't help him avoid or delay his testimony is a potential federal government shutdown. Judge Koh handed down an order yesterday according to which the trial will go forward in any event.

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