Tag Archives: USA

USA: Chevron Moves to Collect $3.4 Million from Lawyer Steven Donziger in Florida

October 18, 2019

Chevron Corp. and suspended New York attorney Steven Donziger have been foes since the 1990s, when Donziger sued on behalf of indigenous and farmer communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest.

International oil giant Chevron Corp. has moved to register a $3.4 million attorney-fee judgment against suspended New York attorney Steven Donziger in Florida, where he’s originally from, marking the latest chapter of a decadeslong saga of hostility between the two litigants.

A federal judge in New York awarded the fees in July against Donziger and his former law firms, Donziger Associates and The Law Office of Steven R. Donziger, after holding Donziger in contempt of court for blocking Chevron’s attempts to collect a money judgment from him.

Chevron and Donziger have been foes since the 1990s, when Donziger sued on behalf of indigenous and farmer communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest. The plaintiffs alleged they suffered high cancer rates and birth defects because of deliberate oil and waste-water dumping by Chevron’s predecessor Texaco Inc.

Chevron argued that a 1998 agreement it signed with Ecuador had absolved it of further liability. But in 2011, the Ecuador Supreme Court ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor, awarding $9.5 billion in compensation.

But Chevron responded with a racketeering suit against Donziger, seeking to block the judgment. And it was successful as U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in the Southern District of New York found in 2014 that the Ecuador judgment had been obtained through fraud, bribery and corruption from the plaintiffs’ legal team. An international tribunal in The Hague also sided with Chevron.

Donziger has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, claiming the allegations against him were based on fraudulent testimony from a disgraced former Ecuadorian judge whom he alleges was bribed by Chevron.

He has appealed the $3.4 million attorney-fee judgment, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has yet to rule.

Donziger was suspended over the ruling in New York and the District of Columbia in 2018 and could lose his license. At a September disbarment hearing in New York, Donziger claimed Kaplan refused to consider evidence disproving the claims against him. The hearing will continue at the end of October, after which a referee will make a recommendation to the court.

Chevron has retained Luis Suarez of Boies Schiller Flexner’s Miami office. He deferred comment to Chevron spokesperson Sean Comey, who said the company is seeking to hold Donziger accountable for violating the New York ruling, which prohibits him from profiting from the Ecuadorian judgment.

“A federal court in New York has awarded Chevron Corp. multimillion-dollar money judgments against Donziger. This judgment enforcement action in Florida, where Donziger has some assets, is part of the process to hold Donziger responsible for his wrongdoing,” Comey said. “Chevron will continue to work to hold the perpetrators of this fraud accountable for their actions.”






View at Medium.com



Micronesia/USA: Rachelle Bergeron, US prosecutor murdered on Yap island, had ‘dangerous job’: sister

October 16, 2019


The American prosecutor gunned down outside her home on a tiny Pacific island had a “dangerous job,” her sister told The Post when asked if anyone wanted her dead.

Wisconsin native Rachelle Bergeron, who served as acting attorney general on the remote island of Yap, was fatally shot in her chest and leg on Monday night — shaking the sleepy state she has called home since 2015.

Her sister, Nicole Stone, said Bergeron cared deeply about her role as the island’s chief prosecutor, highlighting a case she worked on in 2016 involving two dozen migrants detained on Yap in the Pacific Ocean.

“She was extremely passionate about securing better conditions for these migrants that ended up on Yap,” Stone said Wednesday.

The 33-year-old worked as a human rights lawyer in the Big Apple before moving to the island in the Federated States of Micronesia as the assistant attorney general.

She continued her work on the island — joining the Yap State Human Trafficking Task Force. The island has been identified as a major human trafficking source by UNICEF.

When asked if Bergeron had made any enemies, Stone said the family had been warned not to make any public speculation until they are back safe from Yap with her body.

“She did have a dangerous job,” she said.







https://news-24.fr/une-avocate-americaine-est-abattue-dans-une-voiture-alors-quelle-courait-avec-son-chien-sur-une-petite-ile-de-micronesie/ (FRANCAIS)

https://www.infobae.com/america/eeuu/2019/10/15/asesinaron-a-una-fiscal-estadounidense-en-micronesia-una-isla-con-11000-habitantes/ (ESPANOL)

Nigeria/USA: Detained lawyer petitions NASS over murder charges

October 13, 2019

After 11 months detention in Kuje Prison over “false and fabricated murder and armed robbery charges,” a lawyer, Mr Emeka Ugwuonye, has petitioned the National Assembly for the role played by the police in his current ordeal.

In the petition written through Due Process Advocate International (DPA), dated October 9 and signed by Mr Kelvin Asekome, he said the police charged him with armed robbery and murder because he was at the verge of exposing a N5billion (annual revenue) of illegal prison racketeering and other illegal operations allegedly perpetrated by some police officers in Abuja.

DPA, founded by Ugwuonye, is an international human rights and humanitarian organisation registered under the law of State of Maryland, United States and Federal Republic of Nigeria

The petition reads in part: “On November 14, 2018, a police officer from the office of the Commissioner of Police, FCT Abuja Command, CP Bala Ciroma served on Barrister Emeka Ugwuonye (hereinafter “Emeka”) summons, charging him with armed robbery and murder, offences the police knew that Emeka could not have committed and absolutely did not commit.

He said: “The charges were purely an effort to use the prosecutorial power of the police to silence Emeka, who was in the process of exposing a 5 billion naira (annual revenue) of illegal prison racketeering and other illegal operations run by Mr Ciroma and some other police officers in Abuja alone.

“Upon serving Emeka with the summon, the police officer said to him: ‘You better go back to the US now’, Mr Ciroma expected Emeka to leave Nigeria upon being served with summons. Hence, he said they tried not to arrest Emeka for murder upon serving him with the court processes that charged him with murder and armed robbery. But as Emeka remained defiant and refused to leave Nigeria as expected by the police, he was arrested on November 26, 2018 on those charges.

Detained lawyer petitions NASS over murder charges



Police arraign disbarred lawyer for alleged fraud



USA: Senator Grassley Sends Letter to Harvard Citing Concerns About Sullivan Dismissal

October 2, 2019

Khurana in Winthrop

United States Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to University President Lawrence S. Bacow last week requesting that he explain the College’s decision not to renew former Winthrop Faculty Dean Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr.

Grassley asked Bacow to provide responses to a series of questions about how administrators decided to remove Sullivan, and about the state of academic freedom at the University more broadly. Grassley asked Harvard to send its reply to the Senate Finance Committee before Oct. 25.

“To be clear, it is generally Harvard College’s business as to what faculty members it employs and how it employs them,” Grassley wrote. “But this episode raises significant concerns that have implications for the state of tax-exempt higher education in the United States and how it is preparing the next generation of our Nation’s leaders.”

The College’s decision not to renew Sullivan followed a months-long controversy over his decision to represent Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who currently faces criminal charges including rape and sexual assault.

Harvard spokesperson Rachael Dane wrote in an email that the University has received Grassley’s letter. She reiterated previous statements noting that the decision not to renew Sullivan and co-Faculty Dean Stephanie R. Robinson was not directly related to the Weinstein case.


Sen. Chuck Grassley presses universities about commitment to academic freedom



USA/Cameroon: City Bar Calls for the Immediate and Unconditional Release of Professor Maurice Kamto

October 4, 2019

New York City Bar

The New York City Bar Association condemns the arrest of Professor Maurice Kamto, and urges the government of Cameroon to honor its international law commitments, and to immediately and unconditionally release Professor Kamto.

Professor Kamto is a distinguished and globally respected jurist; former member, Chair and Special Rapporteur of the International Law Commission of the United Nations from 1999 to 2016; and former Dean of the faculty of judicial and political sciences at University of Yaoundé II. In 2002, he successfully led a team that resolved the dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon over the territory of Bakassi Peninsula before the International Court of Justice so as to allow Cameroon to control that territory. Professor Kamto was appointed Deputy Minister for Justice of Cameroon from 2004 to 2011. After he resigned from the government of Cameroon, Professor Kamto created his political party, Cameroon Renaissance Movement (“MRC”) in 2012.

On January 28, 2019, Cameroonian authorities arrested Professor Kamto, along with over 200 members of his political party, who had organized peaceful protests called “White March.”[1] The aims of White March[2] were to protest against: i) official results of the 2018 presidential elections proclaimed by the Constitutional Council, which MRC claims were marred by irregularities[3], ii) the ongoing war in the Anglophone Northwest and Southwest regions,[4] and iii) widespread corruption that resulted in stripping Cameroon of its role in hosting AFCON 2019.[5]

During the White March, security forces used excessive force against peaceful unarmed civilians and fired live bullets at some, including prominent lawyers and supporters of Professor Kamto. The government argued that the crackdown on protesters was justified because the demonstrations were not authorized. The government also accused Professor Kamto of inciting activists to ransack Cameroonian embassies in Paris and Berlin, which MRC denied.[6]

After Professor Kamto was arrested in the city of Douala, security forces transferred him to the town of Yaoundé. For two weeks Professor Kamto was placed under “administrative custody” by special units at the Special Operations Group (GSO). These units usually deal with terrorism or organized crimes.[7]


New York City Bar Association calls for immediate and unconditional release of Cameroon opposition leader Maurice Kamto




https://www.lebledparle.com/actu/politique/1109569-maximillienne-ngo-mbe-a-paul-biya-il-y-a-au-moins-encore-2000-personnes-a-liberer (FRANCAIS)

https://www.journalducameroun.com/cameroun-vers-la-liberation-de-maurice-kamto-cameroun/ (FRANCAIS)

https://fr.africanews.com/2019/10/04/cameroun-biya-ordonne-la-liberation-de-certains-militants-et-responsables-du/ (FRANCAIS)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Kamto (FRANCAIS)

https://www.dw.com/de/kameruns-pr%C3%A4sident-begnadigt-333-gefangene/a-50698794 (DEUTSCHE)

http://www.nuovomille.it/ultime-di-cronaca/camerun-yaounde-inizia-dialogo-nazionale-senza-ribelli (ITALIANO)

Argentina/Iran/Israel: Justin Webster Sheds Light on the Alberto Nisman Case in New Documentary Series

September 23, 2019


On Jan. 14, 2015 prosecutor Alberto Nisman went on TV to accuse Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of negotiating the impunity of Iranians accused of the Buenos Aires’ 1994 AMIA bombing, the biggest terrorist attack in the Western hemisphere before 9/11.

“There was an alliance with terrorists, negotiation with a state that bought the terrorists and the terrorists themselves,” said a dapper Nisman, in the interview which appears in the early stretch of Justin Webster’s deeply-caring, meticulous “The Prosecutor, the President and the Spy,” a six-hour doc series which world premiered Monday at Spain’s San Sebastian Film Festival.

Four days later, and on the eve of testifying in court, where he promised decisive proof of the collusion, Nisman was found dead in his bathroom with a single shot to the head. His death reverberated around the world.

Immediately, Kirchner is accused of ordering Nisman’s murder. She denounces the man described in “The Prosecutor” as Argentina’s Rasputin, the fearsome Antonio Horacio “Jaime” Stiuso, a spy with close links to the CIA and Mossad, of conspiring against her.

Produced by Barcelona’s Justin Webster Productions and Fasten Films, Berlin’s Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion and backed by Movistar+, ZDFinfo and DR,  “The Prosecutor, the President and the Spy” is “a story of ambition, corruption and espionage which unfolds, with rival narratives of good and evil, of suicide or murder, and of truth itself, around a body found in a bathroom, with enormous international resonance,” its makers say.

“The Prosecutor” will be “an earthquake” in Argentina, predicts San Sebastian Festival director José Luis Rebordinos.

It is also Webster’s most original and most ambitious series to date – building on “Death in Leon,” the Emmy-winning “Six Dreams” and HBO España’s “The Pioneer” – marking the full emergence of an auteur and the creative and industrial potential of a form of story-telling with which he admits he’s obsessed: Cinematic non-fiction series.

Justin Webster Sheds Light on the Alberto Nisman Case in New Documentary Series

Senate committee commemorates 25th anniversary of Jewish center bombing in Argentina



https://www.clarin.com/espectaculos/tv/caso-alberto-nisman-muerte-llego-festival-san-sebastian-serie-fiscal-presidenta-espia_0_bNSwCcNJ.html (ESPANOL)

https://www.elnuevodiario.com.ni/internacionales/501930-atentados-argentina-iran-impunidad/ (ESPANOL)

https://www.losandes.com.ar/article/view?slug=el-senado-no-quiere-tratar-el-pedido-de-desafuero-a-cristina (ESPANOL)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberto_Nisman (FRANCAIS)

USA: Judge rules against NC man who says lynching ‘threat’ to Muslim candidate is ‘free speech’

September 17, 2019

A federal appeals court ruled this week that a North Carolina man must face trial after he allegedly threatened a Muslim candidate with lynching.

Attorneys for Joseph Cecil Vandevere, 52, argued that charges against their client should be dropped on the grounds of freedom of speech, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

Vandevere is charged with interstate communication of a threat to injure a person. He allegedly used anonymous social media accounts to communicate lynching threats.

In one tweet, Vandevere is said to have sent a picture of a lynching to Virginia state Senate candidate Qasim Rashid, who is Muslim. The tweet included the words “VIEW YOUR DESTINY.”

Vandevere is also accused of posting a threat on the Facebook page of a Florida synagogue. The comment called for the “public arrests and executions” of “dual citizen Jews.”

Lawyers for Vandevere said that the remarks are not a “true threat” because of free speech protections in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The AP reported that U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn Jr. ruled against the motion to dismiss the case, saying that he could not find that Vandevere’s remarks are “political hyperbole.”

Judge rules against NC man who says lynching ‘threat’ to Muslim candidate is ‘free speech’




Sweden/USA: ASAP Rocky’s Swedish lawyer injured in Stockholm shooting

September 7, 2019

Henrik Olsson Lilja

A prominent Swedish lawyer who represented US rapper ASAP Rocky in a recent assault case has reportedly been shot multiples times in Stockholm.

Police were called to a shooting in Kungsholmen at around 09:00 local time (07:00 GMT) on Friday.

Paramedics took one person, a man in his 50s, to hospital with gunshot wounds, police said.

The Swedish Bar Association has confirmed the victim is Henrik Olsson Lilja, CBS News reported.

Mr Lilja is reported to be in a serious but stable condition and one suspect has been arrested.

The lawyer represented ASAP Rocky after the rapper’s arrest in Stockholm over an assault during a street brawl on 30 June.



https://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/a/1nwkRM/henrik-olsson-lilja-tack-for-allt-stod (SVENSK)

https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2019/09/06/un-ex-avocat-daap-rocky-blesse-par-balle-a-stockholm (FRANCAIS)

Sweden/USA: ASAP Rocky’s Swedish lawyer injured in Stockholm shooting

September 7, 2019

Henrik Olsson Lilja

A prominent Swedish lawyer who represented US rapper ASAP Rocky in a recent assault case has reportedly been shot multiples times in Stockholm.

Police were called to a shooting in Kungsholmen at around 09:00 local time (07:00 GMT) on Friday.

Paramedics took one person, a man in his 50s, to hospital with gunshot wounds, police said.

The Swedish Bar Association has confirmed the victim is Henrik Olsson Lilja, CBS News reported.

Mr Lilja is reported to be in a serious but stable condition and one suspect has been arrested.

The lawyer represented ASAP Rocky after the rapper’s arrest in Stockholm over an assault during a street brawl on 30 June.

On its website, Stockholm Police described the shooting as “an isolated incident with no known connection to recent violent crimes”.

What happened?

Mr Lilja was shot in the head and chest at his block of flats and then called the police himself with a neighbour’s phone, according to Swedish newspaper Expressen.

A witness told the paper Mr Lilja was shot while wrestling with a man on the ground.

The gunman, who fled the scene in a black SUV, is still at large, the paper reported.


USA: Safety is every lawyer’s issue

August 30, 2019

Decorative Scales of Justice in the Courtroom

Trust your instincts.

That’s the advice of two Minnesota criminal defense attorneys who have endured the emotional pain caused by their client’s acts of violence—a courthouse shooting in Grand Marais in 2011 and a homicide in a St. Paul law office in 2016.

Lawyers must hone their intuition to be alert for dangerous clients and should not be afraid to act on their fears, say John Lillie and Daniel Adkins.  And if the worst happens lawyers must take care of themselves and each other, they say, speaking to colleagues at the Minnesota State Bar Association convention in June. Lillie told the group, “You’re not shortchanging your clients by taking care of yourself.”

“We hate that we’re experts on this and we hate to talk about it, but we do it every time we’re asked because you deserve it,” Adkins told the group. “You don’t know what you can lose. There is no bottom to the pain you can experience.”

A traumatic or tragic event can happen to any lawyer, Adkins said. “Your practice, your life is affected by what happened to me,” he said. “It’s prosecutors, it’s defenders, its family lawyers, its people doing civil transactions. You write a will and something goes awry, you’re wrong.”

Adkins recalled that in 2003 on the 17th floor of the A level in the Hennepin County Government Center, Susan Berkovitz, involved in a contested probate, murdered her cousin and tried to murder her cousin’s lawyer, Richard Hendrickson. The dispute was over her father’s estate, of which the victim was the conservator.  Hendrickson recovered and went on to assist other attorneys through Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers.

But the shooting taught us nothing, Adkins said. “Nothing’s changed.”

Learn how to be safe

Adkins refers to his law clerk, Chase Passauer, who was killed by client Ryan Petersen, as his hero. Adkins was in trial in Washington County when he got a text from his client, Petersen, who said he needed help right away. Actually, he got about 60 texts although he told Petersen he was in court and would get back to him. Turns out Petersen was under the influence of heroin, cocaine, human growth hormones and steroids, and in possession of a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun. He went to Adkins’ office apparently intending to shoot him, but Adkins wasn’t there. Passauer was, and Petersen shot him eight times in the chest. Petersen was sentenced to life in prison without parole, leaving Passauer’s family and friends to grieve.

“You’ve got to learn how to be safe,” Adkins said. He has a lock on his door and a camera recording the scene, and said he does not meet with “drop in” clients. Originally he wanted an “open door” to his practice, but “that’s a luxury you simply can’t afford.”

Safety is every lawyer’s issue