An independent expert working for Ecuador’s Judiciary Council has filed a report stating that the videotapes Chevron provided to the government of Ecuador and the U.S. Department of Justice are authentic and unaltered.
In late August of last year, it was revealed on video that Judge Juan Núñez, who was then presiding over the lawsuit against Chevron in Ecuador, had prejudged the case (even though evidence was still being submitted and final arguments had not been held) and may be involved in a $3 million bribery scheme.
The judge was willing to talk about his pending decision with businessmen (Hansen) seeking post-verdict remediation contracts. The following is a transcript of that conversation:
– Núñez: “Any other questions for me as a judge?”
– Hansen: “Oh no, I, I know clearly how it is, you say, Chevron is the guilty party?”
– Núñez: “Yes Sir.”
– Hansen: “And the, the, the act (decision) is October or November of this year?”
– Núñez: “Yes Sir.”
– Hansen: “And it’s …?”
– Núñez: “No later than January.”
– Hansen: “January 2010. And the money is twenty-seven (billion dollars)?”
– Núñez: “It might be less, and it might be more.”
After analyzing the videos from which this conversation was transcribed, the expert found that:
- The videos were authentic and showed no evidence whatsoever of any kind of manipulation.
- The videos were proven to a scientific certainty to contain the unaltered voices of purported government officials and others who participated in the meetings.
The expert report puts to rest the false claims that the plaintiffs’ lawyers and Judge Núñez himself have made in attempts to cover up this abuse of the judicial system. Judge Núñez insisted to the Wall Street Journal that he could “see things that have been erased” and that someone “cut and pasted certain things.”
In calling into question the authenticity of the video tapes, the plaintiffs’ representatives had also insisted that the tapes had been digitally altered.
The expert’s report further emphasizes the improper conduct on the part of Judge Núñez as well as individuals affiliated with Ecuador’s ruling political party. To date, Judge Núñez has not been sanctioned for his misconduct and his prior rulings in the Chevron lawsuit remain part of the record.