The Supreme Court declined Monday to hear the appeal of a trial lawyer who was convicted after he secured a $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron in Ecuadorian court by bribing the judge.
After Chevron sued Donziger in U.S. courts, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan found his victory was “obtained by corrupt means,” citing in his 2014 opinion the fact that Donziger had bribed the judge and ghostwritten both the environmental report and the court opinion. In 2021, Donziger was convicted on civil contempt of court charges after failing to hand over his electronics to Chevron’s forensic experts, a conviction he appealed on separation of powers grounds, according to Reuters.
When Kaplan initially charged Donziger in 2019, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan declined to prosecute the charges due to lack of resources, prompting Kaplan to appoint private lawyers, Reuters reported. Donzinger, who ultimately spent 45 days in prison and 993 days on house arrest, argues that the court-appointed private prosecutors violate the separation of powers because they were operating without executive oversight.