Steven Donziger, the suspended attorney who was ordered to pay an $800,000 judgment for allegedly rigging an Ecuadorian lawsuit against Chevron Corp., is now being prosecuted for criminal contempt by court-appointed attorneys at Seward & Kissel.
Donziger’s cutthroat legal war with Chevron has raged for years, but has significantly escalated in recent weeks. On July 31, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York ordered Donziger to explain why he shouldn’t be prosecuted for allegedly failing to turn over assets to Chevron and comply with discovery orders.
In an unusual twist, the judge also appointed Rita Glavin, Brian Maloney and Sareen Armani of Seward & Kissel to prosecute Donziger for criminal contempt. In appointing a private prosecution team, the judge cited federal criminal rules and an explanation by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York that the office declined to take up the case referral ”on the ground the matter would require resources that we do not have readily available.”
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