Former Judge Testifies to Taking Bribes to Write Rulings Ordering Chevron to Pay Villagers $19 Billion

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 23 2013 9:32 PM

Former Judge Testifies to Taking Bribes to Write Rulings Ordering Chevron to Pay Villagers $19 Billion

184681545
Protesters, some in traditional dress and with black hands representing oil, demonstrate in front of a United States courthouse against Chevron on October 15, 2013 in New York City.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A former Ecuadorean judge told a New York courtroom on Wednesday that he ghost-wrote rulings for another judge ordering Chevron to pay $19 billion in compensation to villagers whose land was polluted by oil exploration.

The former judge, Alberto Guerra, testified that he met with U.S. lawyer Steven Donziger who is accused by Chevron of bribing judges in Ecuador to win the multibillon dollar award, Reuters reports. Guerra is a key witness for Chevron in the case that disputes the $19 billion court order. On the stand, according to Reuters,Guerra said another lawyer representing the villagers had already agreed to pay him $1,000 a month to ghost-write court orders for the presiding judge, Nicolas Zambrano. Zambrano, who was also being paid, agreed to expedite the case and limit procedural avenues by which Chevron could delay it, Guerra said.”

Advertisement

Here’s more on the case from Reuters:

Chevron wants U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is presiding over the trial without a jury, to prevent Donziger and villagers he represents from collecting the award in U.S. courts or from profiting from it in any way.
The award stemmed from environmental contamination between 1964 and 1992 at an oil field in northeastern Ecuador operated by Texaco, which Chevron bought in 2001. Chevron says Texaco cleaned up its share of waste before turning the field over to state-owned Petroecuador.
But in 2011, Zambrano awarded $18 billion to people from the Lago Agrio area, which was affected by the pollution. The court subsequently increased the award to $19 billion to cover fees.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?