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Fortune – Chevron’s RICO trial against Donziger begins

Date: Oct 16, 2013

FORTUNE—Chevron’s long-awaited racketeering suit against Steven Donziger, in which the oil giant accuses the environmental lawyer of having won a $19 billion judgment against it in Ecuador in 2011 through a pattern of bribery, extortion, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice, got off to a halting, glitch-marred start yesterday in federal court in Manhattan.

While the openings themselves—a half hour per side–went relatively smoothly, the testimony of Chevron’s first witness, in-house lawyer Ricardo Reis Veiga, was beset with housekeeping glitches that stemmed from the unpreparedness of the defense lawyers. (Donziger’s previous legal team, led by John Keker of Keker & Van Nest, abandoned the case in May, citing $1.4 million in unpaid legal fees.)

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