Steven Donziger, the environmental and human rights lawyer who gained a $9.5 billion settlement in opposition to Chevron about oil dumped in Indigenous lands in the Amazon rainforest, surrendered himself to the federal authorities on Wednesday to begin a six-month prison sentence.
Mr. Donziger was found guilty in July of 6 counts of prison contempt of courtroom for withholding evidence in a prolonged, advanced lawful battle with Chevron, which statements that Mr. Donziger fabricated proof in the 1990s to gain a lawsuit he filed from the oil big on behalf of 30,000 Indigenous people today in Ecuador. The convictions led to Mr. Donziger’s remaining disbarred previous calendar year.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Donziger turned himself in to a federal jail in Danbury, Conn., in which he will provide his 6-thirty day period sentence. He experienced currently invested much more than 800 times beneath dwelling detention following the court docket cited flight-possibility issues, his law firm, Ronald L. Kuby, said on Wednesday.
“After 100 internet pages of legal briefing, the appellate court now denied my launch in 10 words,” Mr. Donziger said on Twitter on Tuesday. “This is not due process of regulation. Nor is it justice.”
“We will get through this,” he additional.
Reps for Chevron did not promptly answer to requests for remark.
On July 31, 2019, Choose Lewis A. Kaplan of the U.S. District Court docket in Manhattan, a previous company law firm, experimented with to demand Mr. Donziger with contempt of court docket primarily based on his refusals in 2014 to give the courtroom access to decades of consumer communications on gadgets like his cellphone and his computer system. That year, Decide Kaplan supported Chevron’s criticism in a 500-website page ruling locating that Mr. Donziger and his associates had engaged in a conspiracy and legal perform by ghostwriting an environmental report utilized as a vital piece of evidence and bribing a choose in Ecuador.
After the U.S. lawyer for the Southern District of New York declined to prosecute the case, Judge Kaplan took the uncommon step of appointing a private law company, Seward & Kissel, to prosecute Mr. Donziger in the title of the U.S. government, Mr. Kuby claimed.
Seward & Kissel has represented many oil and fuel businesses during the yrs, which includes Chevron in 2018.
Misdemeanor criminal contempt carries a greatest sentence of one particular 12 months. If the penalty is a lot more than six months for this variety of charge, Mr. Kuby explained, a defendant would get a demo by jury. Even after a number of objections by Mr. Donziger, Judge Loretta A. Preska lowered the sentencing to 6 months — it experienced formerly been set to a yr — and denied Mr. Donziger’s request for a jury demo.
In July, Decide Preska found Mr. Donziger responsible of all charges. On Oct. 1, Mr. Donziger was sentenced to six months in prison, a working day after he questioned the court docket to consider an impression by unbiased United Nations industry experts that found his court docket-purchased residence confinement of much more than two a long time a violation of global human rights law.
Decide Preska agreed to not incarcerate Mr. Donziger quickly, supplying him a chance to attraction the disorders of his bail. In a court buy on Oct. 12, Choose Preska declared that if Mr. Donziger’s charm unsuccessful, he would have to surrender himself inside 24 several hours of the conclusion.
In 1993, Mr. Donziger sued the Chevron Company for oil spills that had a harmful result on the Amazonian location of Ecuador. Mr. Donziger has argued that Texaco, which was obtained by Chevron in 2001, slash as a result of the Amazon, spilled oil into pristine rain forests and still left at the rear of a poisonous mess.
At the time, Chevron mentioned Mr. Donziger fabricated info for his personal ends, blaming the enterprise for air pollution mainly induced by Petroecuador, the national oil firm that was at the time a husband or wife of Texaco and carries on to develop oil in the region.
Chevron has very long argued that a 1998 agreement that Texaco signed with Ecuador soon after a $40 million cleanup absolves it of legal responsibility. It contends that Ecuador’s point out-operate oil enterprise is liable for considerably of the air pollution in the oil patch that Texaco left in the 1970s.