The Government Gave Big Oil the Power to Prosecute Its Biggest Critic


In 2011, Steven Donziger led the legal team that secured a $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron for polluting the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador. Chevron has not paid that claim, and last year a judge appointed a private law firm to criminally prosecute Donziger for a contempt charge in a countersuit filed by Chevron in federal court in Manhattan. That law firm, Seward & Kissel LLP, has represented Chevron itself as recently as 2018, according to recent court documents.

Put another way: The government has taken the extraordinary step of giving prosecutorial power to a law firm that has worked for Chevron—and is allowing that prosecutorial power to be aimed at Chevron’s chief adversary, who has been under house arrest for 332 days.

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