Lawyer who won Ecuadorian Chevron lawsuit over ‘most vicious corporate counterattack in US history’
He claimed it was “the most vicious corporate counterattack in American history.”
The New York courtroom was heated on Monday, with Judge Loretta Preska interrupting counsel for Mr. Donziger’s opening statement more than half a dozen times and supporting all of the prosecution’s objections.
Mr. Donziger, who wore a “Free Donziger” mask, faces six months in prison if convicted. A decision could be taken as early as this week.
“It’s this strange multi-fronted battle with one extraordinary explosive development after another,” Larry Catá Backer, professor of international law at Penn State University, told The Guardian. in. “
The legal fight in Ecuador has become one of the longest in history, even longer than the one that followed the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.
Some of its aspects have been heard by around 100 judges from 36 courts in seven countries. According to Chevron’s estimates, this cost the company nearly $ 1 billion, including 1.5 million hours of staff time.
Chevron is now asking the court that ordered Ecuador to overturn the verdict to also order that nearly $ 800 million in Chevron’s legal fees be paid by Ecuador, a country whose gross domestic product is about the half of Chevron’s market value.
Mr Donziger gathered a number of high profile supporters including actor Alec Baldwin, Sarandon, Waters and dozens of Nobel laureates.
On Monday in court, Mr. Waters addressed a crowd. “The winners of this case are you, the people who want to see a future for our children, our grandchildren,” said the British musician.
After graduating from Harvard Law in 1991, Mr. Donziger became a public defender in Washington DC.
During the First Gulf War, Mr. Donziger helped document civilian casualties and co-authored a report adopted by the United Nations. Since 1993, the Ecuadorian pollution case has exhausted his legal career.
He visited Ecuador in 1993, where he says he saw “what honestly looked like an apocalyptic disaster”, including children walking barefoot on oil-covered roads and oil-filled jungle lakes.
“It was brutally difficult for him,” said Paul Paz y Miño, associate director of Amazon Watch, a conservation group allied with Mr. Donziger. “It cost him and his family a lot. Chevron wants the story to be that he’s a criminal. The implications of this for the entire environmental movement against the oil companies are terrifying.