6-Month Sentence for Lawyer Who Took on Chevron Denounced as ‘International Outrage’

6-Month Sentence for Lawyer Who Took on Chevron Denounced as ‘International Outrage’

By Julia Conley

Environmental justice advocates and other progressives on Friday condemned a federal judge’s conclusion Friday to sentence human rights law firm Steven Donziger to six months in prison — next extra than two many years of household arrest associated to a lawsuit he submitted decades ago against oil large Chevron.

The sentence, sent by U.S. District Choose Loretta Preska in New York City, signifies “an international outrage,” tweeted journalist Emma Vigeland following its announcement.

Donziger’s sentence arrived a day soon after the United Nations Doing the job Team on Arbitrary Detention mentioned it was “appalled” by the U.S. legal system’s treatment of the previous environmental law firm and demanded the U.S. authorities “solution the problem of Mr. Steven Donziger without hold off and provide it in conformity with the suitable intercontinental norms” by straight away releasing him.

Donziger represented a team of farmers and Indigenous people today in the Lago Agrio location of Ecuador in the 1990s in a lawsuit from Texaco—since obtained by Chevron—in which the organization was accused of contaminating soil and drinking water with its “deliberate dumping of billions of gallons of most cancers-triggering squander into the Amazon.”

An Ecuadorian court docket awarded the plaintiffs a $9.5 billion judgment in 2011—a determination upheld by multiple courts in Ecuador—only to have a U.S. decide reject the ruling, accusing Donziger of bribery and evidence tampering. Chevron also countersued Donziger in 2011.

In 2019, U.S. District Choose Lewis A. Kaplan of the Southern District of New York—a previous corporate attorney with investments in Chevron—held Donziger in contempt of courtroom right after he refused to disclose privileged information about his clients to the fossil gas business. Kaplan placed Donziger under house arrest, exactly where he has remained below demanding court docket checking for 787 times.

In addition to Kaplan’s own connections to Chevron, the judge appointed non-public attorneys to prosecute the circumstance, which includes just one who had labored for a organization that represented the oil big.

Preska, who discovered Donziger guilty of the contempt expenses in July, is a chief of the appropriate-wing Federalist Society, which counts Chevron amongst its economic backers.

“As I facial area sentencing on Working day 787 of house arrest, by no means overlook what this scenario is really about,” tweeted Donziger on Friday morning, as he awaited the sentencing. “Chevron brought about a mass industrial poisoning in the Amazon that crushed the life of Indigenous peoples. 6 courts and 28 appellate judges uncovered the organization guilty.”

Donziger indicated Friday afternoon that he ideas to attractiveness the sentence.

“Remain robust,” he tweeted along with a photo from a rally attended by his supporters Friday.

350.org co-founder and author Bill McKibben stated on social media that Donziger “deserves our thanks and aid” for “daring to position out that Large Oil had poisoned the rainforest.

“Rick Claypool, investigate director for Public Citizen, tweeted that Donziger’s scenario “perfectly encapsulates how corporate electric power has twisted the U.S. justice method to defend company passions and punish their enemies” — noting that as Donziger is ordered to jail for six months, members of the Sackler loved ones just lately received immunity from opioid lawsuits targeting their non-public company, Purdue Pharma.

“This ruling was carried out to discourage Any individual from crossing company distinctive interests,” explained progressive previous congressional applicant Jen Perelman.

Reposted with permission from Common Desires.

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