There are many lawyers and critics of General Motors who say the $900 million deferred prosecution deal didn’t go far enough in the ignition-switch scandal that has plagued the automaker.
The chief U.S. prosecutor in Manhattan says “siloing” within GM made it difficult to pin individuals in the criminal investigation, which began in 2014.
Responding on behalf of victims and safety advocates criticisms, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, said he understands the calls to hold specific people accountable for the lapse in judgement, and cover-ups that followed the ignition-switch fallout.
“We’re not done, and it remains possible that we will charge an individual, but the law doesn’t always let us to do what we wish we could,” Bharara told Reuters.
What makes the process so difficult to pin on one, or a handful, of people is the reporting responsibilities is so general at automakers, it makes it incredibly difficult to hold one person accountable.
“A particular person may have had only partial knowledge, and contributed in a chain of actions,” he said.
Adding to the difficulty was the problem of producing “criminal intent,” an essential component to charge individuals with crimes in the United States.
Following the ignition-switch recall, GM CEO, Mary Barra, proceeded to fire 15 executives from the company, including quality-control employees.