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Reuters – Film outtakes steal stage in Chevron Ecuador case

Date: Jan 11, 2011

This piece discusses clips from the documentary “Crude” which show the plaintiffs’ legal team. Steven Donziger, the lead plaintiffs’ lawyer, discusses pressuring the Ecuadorian court. According to the article, Chevron says the trial in Lago Agrio has been prejudiced by government interference, misconduct on the part of Donziger and collusion between plaintiffs’ lawyers and a court-appointed expert who said environmental damages amounted to $27 billion:

The 2009 documentary film “Crude” was made with the cooperation of New York-based lawyer Steven Donziger, who has scaled back his role in representing the plaintiffs after outtakes from the film showed him in Ecuador discussing tactics to pressure a local judge into ruling in their favor.

At one point he muses about paying protesters to surround the courthouse in the Amazon town of Lago Agrio where the case is being heard. “There are almost no rules here,” he says at another point. “This is how the game is played. It’s dirty.”

“We need to do more politically, to control the court, to pressure the court,” Donziger says on one clip. “We believe they make decisions based on who they fear the most, not based on what the law should dictate. So what we want to do is take over the court with a massive protest.”

“We want to send a message to the court to not fuck with us. Not now, not later and not ever,” says Donziger, who helped originate the case against Chevron in 1993.

Several U.S. judges have registered alarm over the outtakes, which could complicate plaintiffs’ efforts at seizing assets to collect any reward granted by the Lago Agrio court.

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