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Ghostwriting the $18.2 Billion Judgment

The ultimate $18.2 billion judgment against Chevron was not written by the presiding judge Nicholas Zambrano. Two prominent forensic linguists (see here (73 KB), here (2 MB) and here) (17 MB) compared the Feb. 14, 2012, judgment to Judge Zambrano’s known writings and found substantial differences in writing characteristics. They concluded that the judgment was not written by Judge Zambrano alone.

In fact, a former Ecuadorian judge recently acknowledged his direct involvement in orchestrating a fraudulent judgment against Chevron.

In a sworn declaration (169 KB) filed on January 28, 2013, in New York federal court, Alberto Guerra, who presided over the case when it was first filed in 2003, reveals that he was paid thousands of dollars by the plaintiffs’ lawyers and a subsequent judge, Nicholas Zambrano, for illegally ghostwriting judicial orders issued by Zambrano and steering the case in the plaintiffs’ favor. Guerra, who is no longer a judge, attests that the plaintiffs’ lawyers were permitted to draft the $18 billion judgment in their own favor after they promised to pay Zambrano a $500,000 bribe out of the judgment’s enforcement proceeds, and that Guerra then reviewed the plaintiffs’ lawyers draft for Zambrano before the judge issued it as his own.

Guerra’s declaration, which is corroborated by computer, bank and shipping records, as well as the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ own internal e-mails, provides a direct account of corruption that has tainted the trial for years.


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