>> For the first time ever, Volkswagen is admitting guilt in a courtroom, as it continues to pay for its massive emissions cheating scandal. VW entering guilty pleas for conspiracy to commit fraud, obstruction of justice, and entry of goods by false statement, all felonies. US District Court Friday the guilty plea is part of the $4.3 billion settlement reached with the Justice Department earlier this year.
VW admitted to using secret software to cheat on emissions tests for more than half a million vehicles in the US alone during a six-year period. The cars instead were spewing out toxins 40 times the legal amount. Since the cheating was uncovered, VW has agreed to spend up to $25 billion in the US to buy back the cars from owners, as well as a number of other remedies.
But the scandal has sullied the reputation of the world's largest auto maker by sales, and cost several top executives their jobs. Seven current and former VW executives have been charged in association with the cheating. Of the seven, five are believed to be in Germany and have not been arraigned in the states.
One is awaiting trial, while another has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with prosecutors. VW will find out its fate at an April 21st sentencing.