An environmental lawyer, who does not deserve such a title, who was found to have falsified sets of scientific evidence along with bribing a foreign judge in an attempt to try and shakedown an oil company is now facing a six-month stint in prison following the judgment from a Manhattan judge on Monday who ruled that he was in criminal contempt for his actions.
As reported by the news outlet The Wall Street Journal, “Disbarred attorney Steven Donziger was found guilty of six counts of criminal contempt of court, the latest twist in a nearly three-decade crusade against Chevron Corp that began as an attempt to prove the oil company caused environmental harm in Ecuador.”
As described in the judgment, Loretta Preska, a U.S. District Judge, stated that Donziger “repeatedly and willfully” went against court orders to display some pieces of evidence, such thing includes his electronic devices and passport.
“It’s time to pay the piper,” Judge Preska added.
Donziger, who is age 59, has been held under house arrest for the incidents for almost two years while he waits for his trial slot. He is slated to be sentenced in the upcoming weeks. His personal attorney had issued the claim that the court has allowed Chevron to advance an entire intimidation campaign aimed at Donziger.
As stated by The Wall Street Journal:
The contempt case, the judge wrote, has nothing to do with any responsibility Chevron might bear for pollution in the rainforest in Ecuador, where Chevron’s predecessors drilled for oil in the previously pristine jungle. The company has repeatedly denied any culpability.
Instead, “at stake here is the fundamental principle that a party to a legal action must abide by court orders or risk criminal sanctions, no matter how fervently he believes in the righteousness of his cause or how much he detests his adversary.”
Mr. Donziger said Monday he plans to appeal the decision, which he said “marks a sad day for the rule of law, for our democracy and for our planet.” His legal team recently asked Judge Preska to reconsider the terms of his home confinement, which hit its 700th day this month.
The Journal continued, “Mr. Donziger first went up against Chevron’s predecessor Texaco Inc. in the early 1990s, when he represented native Ecuadoreans who claimed the company’s operations in the Amazon were sickening them.”
Back in 2003, Donziger filed a lawsuit over in Ecuador aimed at Chevron, which had since bought Texaco, petitioning for money to be used for environmental cleanup.
As a result, an Ecuadorian judge put forth an order that Chevron would have to pay over $9.5 billion in 2011. However, Chevron did not pay the fee, stating that the judgement was the straight result of foreign judicial corruption.