Steven Donziger, the disgraced American attorney – who helped secure a fraudulent $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron in Ecuador by bribing the Ecuadorean trial judge and ghost-writing his opinion – made a series of appeals to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals which mostly ruled against him this past week.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals judgements against Steven Donziger are a knife-in-the-heart to his attempts to profit from his fraud against Chevron in the Lago Agrio, Ecuador, lawsuit.
The U.S. Court of Appeals handed down a strongly worded majority opinion in the civil court legal fight between Steven Donziger and oil company Chevron, upholding nearly all of a trial judge’s six civil contempt-of-court findings against Donziger but throwing out one of them because the judge had “introduced considerable ambiguity” into an injunction order, according to a Law.com report.
Essentially, writes Forbes Magazine legal expert Michael Krauss, the court judgement made clear that:
— Clear and convincing evidence established that “… Steven Donziger, among other things, bribed the presiding judge to enter a judgment in his clients’ favor in exchange for $500,000 of the judgment’s proceeds; coerced the court to appoint a hand-picked expert whom Donziger paid for favorable testimony; and ghost-wrote the Ecuadorian Judgment ‘in whole or in major part” with only “light editing” by the judge who signed it.
— Confirmed the District Court’s condemnation of Donziger to pay Chevron court costs of $813,602.71. The District Court had also found Donziger liable to pay Chevron well over $3 million in attorneys’ fees — that amount will now be recalculated by subtracting the fees incurred for the one contempt count that is being vacated, but will surely remain very substantial.
— Donziger may not invoke an excuse of ambiguity in the future about selling interest in his fraudulent lawsuit to investors. Donziger can no longer sell any interests in the fraudulent Ecuadorian judgment for any reason, use any received proceeds for his business or personal benefit, or profit from sales related to the judgment in any way whatsoever.
In summary, Steven Donziger, a man under house arrest for contempt of court, a man who has lost his license to practice law because of his fraud and is facing criminal charges, and a man whose sense of truth is so very similar to former President Donald Trump, has had his legal coffin nailed shut by this legal decision.
The only avenue left to him in his Bernard Madoff-like fraud against Chevron is to continue to enlist aging rock stars, Hollywood celebrities, and unwitting activists who haven’t taken the time to read the body of evidence, created by Donziger himself,that demonstrates the overwhelming fraud he and his legal team committed in Ecuador.
Krauss writes in Forbes by way of background on the Donziger fraud: “seven years ago, after a seven-week trial, the federal District Court for New York’s Southern District entered a final judgment under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) against Donziger.
“The judgment awarded damages in the form of litigation costs and attorneys’ fees to Chevron, imposed a constructive trust for Chevron’s benefit on funds obtained by Donziger traceable to the Ecuadorian judgment, and enjoined Donziger from seeking to enforce the Ecuadorian judgment in the United States and from engaging in activities that would allow him to profit from the fraudulently procured judgment. The Second Circuit has already affirmed the RICO judgment, and the Supreme Court denied further review. [Chevron Corp. v. Donziger, 833 F.3d 74 (2d Cir. 2016), cert. denied, 137 S. Ct. 2268 (2017).]
“Following that RICO judgment, a supplemental judgment quantified the costs awarded to Chevron for successfully litigating the RICO action. Donziger appealed, contesting that calculation of costs. Donziger also appealed several of the district court’s civil contempt orders arising out of Donziger’s alleged violations of the injunction issued against him, when he continued to receive monthly retainer payments totaling over $1 million, drawn from funds largely raised by selling to investor’s contingent shares in any eventual judgment. Finally, Donziger appealed the court’s judgment awarding attorneys’ fees to Chevron.”
Except for his shouting and the support of supplicant activists, the game is now over for Steven Donziger.