The criminal contempt trial of Chevron foe Steven Donziger is set to feature an unusual remote defense after a New York federal judge refused Thursday to further delay the proceeding and told the defendant he will have to make do with telephone access from the courtroom to his Oregon-based lawyer.
Donziger faces an in-person trial Monday on misdemeanor contempt charges after disobeying court orders in an underlying civil suit brought by the oil giant over a $9 billion environmental judgment he obtained in Ecuador. Donziger had told U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska on Wednesday that her refusal to delay the proceeding, combined with his lawyer Lauren Regan’s medical orders not to fly during the COVID-19 pandemic, was sending him toward a “first-ever trial where a lawyer appears by computer.”
Judge Preska responded Thursday that the situation was satisfactory to her.
“A phone will be available on the defense table that can also be used in the jury room for Mr. Donziger to consult with counsel during trial,” the judge said.
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