A New York federal judge has disqualified two of the four lawyers who were set to represent embattled environmental advocate Steven Donziger in a September contempt trial, increasing the chances that Donziger’s former lawyer will be called back to helm the defense.
Donziger is facing criminal contempt charges tied to his refusal to comply with 2019 court orders, all stemming from his role in securing a $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron in Ecuador in the early 2010s over environmental pollution. U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska has so far refused to grant a delay in the trial, set for Sept. 9.
At a hearing Thursday, Judge Preska advised Donziger that two of his lawyers, Richard Friedman and Zoe Littlepage, may have potential conflicts relating to their 2014 correspondence in Chevron’s underlying civil RICO suit against Donziger since the correspondence could be evidence in the upcoming trial.
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