Reuters is reporting today that “The Ecuadorean judge who issued an $18.2 billion verdict against Chevron Corp has denied bribery allegations made by another judge who presided over the landmark pollution case in the South American country, according to a court filing on Thursday.
“Nicolas Zambrano had been accused in a U.S. court-filed sworn statement by Alberto Guerra, a fellow judge who heard the case in Ecuador in 2003 and 2004, of taking a $500,000 bribe from the plaintiffs.”
Zambrano’s allegations are false and completely uncorroborated. As he admits in his affidavit, this would not be the first time Zambrano has lied about his work on the judgment.
On the other hand, Mr. Guerra’s account is corroborated by hard evidence: computer, bank (here, here, here, and here), and shipping records, as well as the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ own internal e-mails (here, here, and here). Moreover, Mr. Guerra’s testimony supports what the evidence already proves – the plaintiffs’ lawyers wrote the judgment. Information from eight internal plaintiffs’ documents appears in 60 pages of a 188-page judgment. There is no innocent explanation for this and Zambrano provides no plausible explanation for it – let alone evidence.
How does Zambrano explain the shipping records? How does Zambrano explain drafts of at least a dozen orders he issued residing on Mr. Guerra’s computer? Zambrano’s affidavit is silent when it comes to the evidence. More to the point, the affidavit is notable for nothing more than what it omits.
Consider all that is known:
- From Dr. Charles Calmbacher, the plaintiffs’ lead expert at the beginning of the trial, we know the plaintiffs’ court reports were being fabricated.
- From Dave Russell, the plaintiffs’ lead technical advisor, we know the evidence didn’t support the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ claims. Russell told plaintiffs’ lawyers that their testing was “self- defeating” and “counterproductive.” He went on to admit that Texaco’s environmental cleanup was “performing as designed.”
- From Fernando Reyes, another environmental expert working for the plaintiffs, we know how the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ aborted their self-defeating evidence collection process and replaced it with another rigged in their favor.
- From the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ documents produced under court-ordered discovery, we know that three separate law firms aligned with the plaintiffs withdrew citing ethical concerns, and a fourth firm stated, “it appears not only that Cabrera and plaintiffs can be charged with a ‘fraud’ respecting the former’s report…”
- One of the plaintiffs’ Ecuadorian lawyers admitted in an e-mail that if evidence of their collusion and fraud was exposed, “all of us, your attorneys, might go to jail.”
- From Kohn, Swift, and Graf, the law firm that invested $7 million in the plaintiffs’ case, we know that they believe their co-counsel engaged in fraud.
- From Burford Capitol, the hedge fund that invested $4 million in the plaintiffs’ case, we know that they believe the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ engaged in fraud.
Eight U.S. federal judges have found evidence of the plaintiffs’ representatives’ misconduct tainting the trial. Zambrano’s only shot at collecting his promised half million dollar bribe is if he dives even further into bed with the plaintiffs’ lawyers.