"Law Students Denounce Chevron’s Law Firm Over Steven Donziger Case"

"Gibson Dunn’s extreme tactics against environmental attorney Steven Donziger spark a backlash."

"On Day 608 of his house arrest, Steven Donziger was pacing in his kitchen. Spring was springing outside the window of his Upper West Side apartment, where the temperature had just shot up into the 60s. Nearby, Central Park was filling with picnickers and people tossing Frisbees. But Donziger, the attorney who won an $8.6 billion judgement against Chevron over toxic oil waste in Ecuador, wouldn’t be joining them. Although the criminal contempt charge for which he will soon face trial — which stems from his refusal to hand his computer and cellphone over to the court in 2019 — is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of six months and Donziger has already spent almost 20 months confined, he still cannot leave his apartment.

“I’m a prisoner in my own home,” he said, as he toasted himself a pumpernickel bagel for lunch. “There has never been a lawyer without a criminal record in the federal system who has been detained for even a day pretrial for a misdemeanor.” Donziger said that his left ankle, on which an electronic monitor has been strapped since August 2019, is chafed, and that his family members, including his 14-year-old son, have suffered immeasurably from the ordeal. “I remember the very first day he came home and I had to tell him,” he said. “And I remember saying this is only going to be a couple of weeks until I can sort this out.”

Donziger wasn’t being naive to think his house arrest wouldn’t last. No other lawyer had been subjected to this treatment before. And the Southern District of New York had already declined to prosecute the contempt case against him. The decision of the judge, a former corporate lawyer whom many of Donziger’s supporters have accused of being biased in favor of Chevron, to appoint a private firm to prosecute the case already seemed extraordinarily harsh and punitive. Yet almost two years later, the device remains affixed to his body and foremost in his mind. “It sort of permeates my existence, sleeping, eating bathing,” he said. “It’s designed to psychologically demoralize.”"

Sharon Lerner reports for The Intercept April 7, 2021.

Source: The Intercept, 04/08/2021