We are living in times of extreme crises. We also know that our dependence on fossil fuels and the power of the oil industry have contributed extensively to these crises. I have spent much of my life as a lawyer helping communities in Ecuador’s Amazon win a historic $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron for the deliberate dumping of billions of gallons of cancer-causing oil waste onto Indigenous ancestral lands. As part of a vicious retaliation campaign, Chevron has attacked me for years using dozens of law firms and 2,000 lawyers with the goal of blocking my advocacy, bankrupting my family, and intimidating activists and environmental allies.Chevron recently orchestrated my criminal contempt prosecution after I appealed an apparently unlawful order from a U.S. judge that I turn over my computer and phone for review by Chevron lawyers. Even though my appeal of this unprecedented order was (and is) pending, the judge charged me criminally and asked the regular federal prosecutor to take the case. The federal prosecutor rejected the case, prompting the charging judge — a former tobacco industry lawyer named Lewis A. Kaplan — to appoint a private law firm with financial ties to the oil and gas industry to “prosecute” me in the name of the government. This law firm, Seward & Kissel, has kept me under house arrest without trial for 16 months while the COVID pandemic has caused continual delays of my trial. The Seward firm also recently admitted that Chevron is a private client — a flagrant conflict of interest.I have now been in house arrest without trial for more than five times longer than the longest sentence ever imposed on a lawyer convicted of the same charge. I am the only lawyer in U.S. history ever put in custody prior to trial on a contempt charge. The judge has denied me a jury of my peers, restricted my defenses, and recently removed my two lead lawyers on the eve of a previously scheduled trial in November. My new trial date is January 19, 2021.The outcome of this case is critical not just for me and my family but also for the larger global struggle for corporate accountability, environmental justice and Indigenous rights. To meet this challenge, I need financial support urgently.
Funds raised are not tax-deductible. They will be held in trust and administered by the Friedman Rubin law firm in Seattle, Washington. Richard Friedman, the principal, has represented me pro bono in many aspects of the litigation. Funds will pay legal costs, basic living expenses and to raise awareness. Legal expenses alone are expected to surpass $1 million. Donations of all sizes are deeply appreciated.
If you would like to Donate By CheckFriedman Rubin, In Trust for the Legal Defense of Steven Donziger,1126 Highland Avenue, Bremerton, WA 98337
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“Steven is a true hero of the environmental movement.”
“What Chevron and its law firms are doing to Steven is the most grotesque thing I have observed in the American legal system in 40 years of practice. Attacking the other side’s lawyers is what defendants do if they have no defense on the merits. Chevron has made no secret of the fact that its only hope is, in their words, to ‘demonize Donziger.’ I have never met anyone more courageous or resilient than Steven Donziger.”
Steven Donziger: Eco-Justice HeroRolling Stone: "Warhorse Lawyer"The Nation: Battle for JusticeGreenpeace: Chevron's Intimidation ModelHuffington Post: Irrefutable Truths About Chevron's PollutionCollateral Estoppel - The Harvard Law RecordChevron Toxico - The Campaign for Justice in Ecuador