Steven Donziger, the Harvard-educated disbarred attorney who attempted to obtain a fortune from Chevron CVX +0.5% through, among other tactics, the purchase of a fraudulent Ecuadorean trial judge award, will be sentenced for criminal contempt by United States District Judge Loretta Preska on October 1. Donziger’s behavior has been duly chronicled in many previous columns, so if you’re unfamiliar with him now’s the time to check out those columns. Here I’m interested only in what his sentence should and will be.
Mr. Donziger has produced many letters from fellow attorneys arguing that he should be sentenced to “time served.” Donziger has not served any time, however — he has been confined to his home, from which he has requested and obtained leave to depart on several occasions for family obligations, employment, attorney visits, religious services, medical appointments, and other activities approved by his Pretrial Services Officer. However, in the light of precedent in the Southern District of New York, the maximum punishment Donziger faces following his conviction on six counts of criminal contempt of court is six months’ imprisonment or a $5,000 fine. So perhaps he will be freed without any penal incarceration.
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