Attorney Steven Donziger embraces his son Matthew after his hearing outside Manhattan Federal Courthouse in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., October 1, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Donziger appeal to center on special prosecutor role

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(Reuters) – Disbarred lawyer Steven Donziger, who was convicted and sentenced for legal contempt after a decades-long authorized battle with Chevron Corp over rainforest air pollution in Ecuador, has requested a federal appeals court docket to hold him out of jail whereas it hears his case.

In a Friday filing within the 2nd U.S. Circuit Courtroom of Appeals, lawyer William Taylor of Zuckerman Spaeder provided a glimpse of the arguments he’ll make in his bid to reverse Donziger’s decrease court docket conviction and six-month jail sentence.

Donziger will argue he was unlawfully prosecuted by a non-public lawyer who served on behalf of america as special prosecutor, Taylor wrote.

The special prosecutor, Rita Glavin of Glavin PLLC, didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Taylor, a outstanding Washington, D.C. litigator who’s now main Donziger’s protection, additionally wrote that his appeal will argue Glavin, a non-public lawyer, lacked the constitutional authority to act as an govt officer of america in her role as special prosecutor, with out being supervised and directed by increased echelons of presidency.

Taylor’s submitting says that in a Might email to Donziger’s counsel, a Justice Division appearing deputy lawyer normal turned down a request to intervene in his legal case.

Donziger informed Reuters: “The danger is if I am forced to serve the entire sentence and later a court of appeals exonerates me, I will have served the maximum sentence for a crime I did not commit.”

Senior U.S. District Decide Loretta Preska in Manhattan federal court docket discovered Donziger responsible of six counts of legal contempt following a Might bench trial. He was sentenced this month.

Donziger, who was disbarred in New York final 12 months, was charged in 2019 with failing to flip over his pc, telephones and different digital gadgets, amongst different conduct. The New York Metropolis resident has been in residence detention since August 2019 to deal with considerations of flight danger.

The contempt case stems from post-judgment orders in a civil case by which one other Manhattan choose, in 2014, barred enforcement in america of a $9.5 billion judgment towards Chevron Corp that Donziger had gained in an Ecuadorian court docket. The choose mentioned the Ecuadorian judgment had been secured via bribery, fraud and extortion.

In Friday’s submitting, Donziger’s attorneys argue he needs to be allowed to stay beneath residence confinement – the place he has been for 2 years – relatively than jailed instantly, as a result of he’s not a flight danger.

Donziger would lose his rights to an appeal “were he to become a fugitive now,” the submitting says, calling it “a compelling incentive not to flee.”

The case is United States of America v. Donziger, 2nd U.S. Circuit Courtroom of Appeals, No. 21-2486.

For United States of America: Rita Glavin of Glavin PLLC

For Donziger: William Taylor of Zuckerman Spaeder

Learn extra:

Lawyer who sued Chevron over Ecuador air pollution discovered responsible of contempt

Lawyer who sued Chevron sentenced to six months in contempt case

Donziger asks choose to heed U.N. specialists’ discovering of ‘arbitrary’ detention

Sebastien Malo

Sebastien Malo reporters on environmental, local weather and vitality litigation. Attain him at [email protected]