(Reuters) - A suspended General Motors Co engineer who worked on the defective ignition switch at the heart of a massive recall told congressional investigators that he had forgotten ordering a change to the switch, when he testified in a deposition last year, the New York Times reported.
GM engineer Ray DeGiorgio did not say anything to the congressional investigators to suggest that Chief Executive Mary Barra knew about the defective switch before she took the top job at the company this year, the Times said, quoting people familiar with the session.
DeGiorgio, who was suspended by GM on April 10, designed the switch for the 2003 Saturn Ion and other models, including the Chevrolet Cobalt, which have been recalled. GM has linked 13 deaths to accidents related to the switch.
The defective switch was redesigned in 2006 without a change to the part number, which later confused investigators looking into crashes of the now-recalled cars. Congressional investigators produced an internal GM document showing DeGiorgio had signed off on the change in April 2006.
In a deposition last year for a lawsuit related to a fatal 2010 crash in Georgia, DeGiorgio denied that he knew of the change. The New York Times reported that he told congressional investigators recently that at the time of the deposition, he had forgotten about the change, because it was part of a package of changes.
General Motors was not available for comment outside regular business hours and did not respond to a request to make DeGiorgio available.
(Reporting by Aurindom Mukherjee and Peter Henderson)