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Chevron Delivers Closing Arguments in RICO Trial, Highlights Lawyers’ Fraud, Extortion, Misconduct in Ecuador Case

Date: Dec 6, 2013

The trial against Steven Donziger and his co-conspirators, which was brought by Chevron under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), has concluded.

During the trial, Chevron presented conclusive and overwhelming evidence that the lawyers behind the lawsuit in Ecuador fabricated evidence, ghostwrote court reports, bribed judges and authored the 2011 judgment against the company.

Randy Mastro, Chevron’s lead lawyer in Chevron v. Donziger, delivered the following remarks as part of his closing arguments:

“What has happened in this courtroom over the past six weeks is something Chevron was denied in Ecuador. All parties here have had a full and fair opportunity to make their case, and that reflects the very best of the American justice system and of its bar. But we have also now seen exposed at this trial the worst of the American bar. Steven Donziger, an American lawyer, who colluded with other American lawyers, American consultants and American funders, to target a deep-pocketed American victim, Chevron.

Now, Mr. Donziger admitted on Crude outtakes that he did things in Ecuador ‘you would never do in the United States,’ things that were just ‘out-of-bounds.’ And he was forced to admit on cross-examination at this trial that he did things ‘down there that know would not be appropriate here.’

Because Steven Donziger has shamed our profession. In the guise of practicing law, he has done shocking, stupefying things, that even his own lawyer admitted in opening statements might subject him to ethical charges. But we lawyers don’t leave our ethical and legal obligations at the border when we go overseas, and we surely don’t abandon them altogether when we come back home.

And Steven Donziger, your Honor, has shamed his temple, this courthouse, this sacred place where we litigators practice our profession. He has obstructed justice, lied to court after court, including this one, and showed utter contempt for the rule of law. Because lawyers don’t threaten, intimidate and blackmail judges. They don’t intentionally deceive and defraud courts. They don’t bribe judges and court officers. They don’t forge and ghostwrite official court documents, including the judgment in their own favor. And they don’t take the false narrative they have created in a corrupt foreign court and then use it like a club in the U.S. to try to extort billions of dollars out of a well-heeled U.S. victim. Lawyers don’t do those things. Criminals do.

We have proven at this trial by overwhelming evidence, really beyond any reasonable doubt, even though that is not our burden in this civil case, that the things Steven Donziger and his co-conspirators did in Ecuador, and here in the United States, to try to pressure a U.S. company into paying them off are crimes and cry out for a remedy.”

A decision is expected in early 2014.