November 30, 2021

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Lawyer Who Gained $9.5 Billion Settlement Towards Chevron Studies to Jail

Lawyer Who Won $9.5 Billion Settlement Against Chevron Reports to Prison

Steven Donziger, the environmental and human rights lawyer who gained a $9.5 billion settlement towards Chevron over oil dumped in Indigenous lands within the Amazon rainforest, surrendered himself to the federal authorities on Wednesday to start a six-month jail sentence.

Mr. Donziger was discovered responsible in August 2019 of six counts of legal contempt of court docket for withholding proof in an extended, complicated authorized combat with Chevron, which claims that Mr. Donziger fabricated proof within the Nineteen Nineties to win a lawsuit he filed towards the oil big on behalf of 30,000 Indigenous individuals in Ecuador. The convictions led to Mr. Donziger’s being disbarred final 12 months.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Donziger turned himself in to a federal jail in Danbury, Conn., the place he’ll serve his six-month sentence. He had already spent greater than 800 days beneath dwelling detention after the court docket cited flight-risk issues, his lawyer, Ronald L. Kuby, mentioned on Wednesday.

“After 100 pages of authorized briefing, the appellate court docket as we speak denied my launch in 10 phrases,” Mr. Donziger said on Twitter on Tuesday. “This isn’t due technique of regulation. Neither is it justice.”

“We are going to get via this,” he added.

Representatives for Chevron didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

On July 31, 2019, Choose Lewis A. Kaplan of the U.S. District Court docket in Manhattan, a former company lawyer, tried to cost Mr. Donziger with contempt of court docket primarily based on his refusals in 2014 to provide the court docket entry to a long time of shopper communications on units like his telephone and his pc. That 12 months, Choose Kaplan supported Chevron’s grievance in a 500-page ruling discovering that Mr. Donziger and his associates had engaged in a conspiracy and legal conduct by ghostwriting an environmental report used as a vital piece of proof and bribing a judge in Ecuador.

After the U.S. lawyer for the Southern District of New York declined to prosecute the case, Choose Kaplan took the uncommon step of appointing a personal regulation agency, Seward & Kissel, to prosecute Mr. Donziger within the identify of the U.S. authorities, Mr. Kuby mentioned.

Seward & Kissel has represented many oil and gasoline corporations all through the years, including Chevron in 2018.

Misdemeanor legal contempt carries a most sentence of 1 12 months. If the penalty is greater than six months for such a cost, Mr. Kuby mentioned, a defendant would get a trial by jury. Even after a number of objections by Mr. Donziger, Choose Loretta A. Preska lowered the sentencing to 6 months — it had beforehand been set to a 12 months — and denied Mr. Donziger’s request for a jury trial.

In August, Choose Preska discovered Mr. Donziger responsible of all prices. On Oct. 1, Mr. Donziger was sentenced to 6 months in jail, a day after he requested the court docket to think about an opinion by unbiased United Nations specialists that discovered his court-ordered dwelling confinement of greater than two years a violation of worldwide human rights regulation.

Choose Preska agreed to not incarcerate Mr. Donziger instantly, giving him an opportunity to attraction. In a court docket order on Oct. 12, Choose Preska declared that if Mr. Donziger’s attraction failed, he must give up himself inside 24 hours of the choice.

In 1993, Mr. Donziger sued the Chevron Company for oil spills that had a detrimental effect on the Amazonian region of Ecuador. Mr. Donziger has argued that Texaco, which was acquired by Chevron in 2001, reduce via the Amazon, spilled oil into pristine rain forests and left behind a poisonous mess.

On the time, Chevron mentioned Mr. Donziger fabricated info for his personal ends, blaming the corporate for air pollution largely brought on by Petroecuador, the nationwide oil firm that was as soon as a associate of Texaco and continues to provide oil within the area.

Chevron has lengthy argued {that a} 1998 settlement that Texaco signed with Ecuador after a $40 million cleanup absolves it of legal responsibility. It contends that Ecuador’s state-run oil firm is accountable for a lot of the air pollution within the oil patch that Texaco left within the Nineteen Seventies.

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