Atossa Soltani, of Amazon Watch, and its the founder and executive director, has reportedly elected to avoid testifying on behalf of RICO defendant Steven Donziger in the Chevron Ecuador fraud trial, this blogger learned today.
Chevron is suing Steven Donziger in the ongoing Chevron Ecuador controversy for alleged violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
Basically, Chevron’s innovate legal attack claims that Donziger’s repeated actions of forming a fraudulent case against the American Oil Company add up to racketeering – defined as “obtaining or extorting money illegally or carrying on illegal business activities.”
In telling Donziger that what he and his collegues were doing added up to an attempt to “conspire to break the law” and said this in a video that was not used for the CRUDE movie – the propaganda piece on Donziger that gave Chevron much of the evidence it needed to prove Steven was acting fraudulently. This one:
This is a stunning setback for Donziger, who is fighting fraud charges by Chevron in New York District Court for allegedly masterminding the $19 billion case against Chevron in Ecuador by bribing judges, doctoring scientific evidence and writing the judgment against the oil company and providing it to the Ecuadorian Judge to hand down as his own.
Atossa Soltani and Amazon Watch have been leaders in helping Donziger promote his fraudulent case against Chevron. But she’s avoiding the trial because she was selected as the 2013 Global Hillary Laureate. And while that’s a laudable achievement, being feted by the organization dedicated to the work of Sir Edmund Hillary, and being sent to New Zealand for November, she’s known about that since she was awarded the title on June 6th.
Ms. Soltani had ample time to make arrangements to be at the New York RICO trial and defend Steven Donziger, and prove that she believed in what she was doing. But, and I think because she would be placed in the position of essentially being a bad witness for Donziger, she skipped.
Atossa Soltani and Amazon Watch have to be afraid that they will be linked to the Donziger case and in a bad way that would paint them as participating in a fraudulent extortion attempt.
Chevron lawyers would ask questions of Soltani about how much she knew about the fraud and plans by Donziger, his lawyer partners Luis Yanza and Pablo Fajardo to use intimidation and death threats against the Ecuadorian judges to ensure a victory for Donziger and for Amazon Watch.
Atossa Soltani and Amazon Watch have promoted the false case against Chevron (and really should be suing Ecuador and its state-run oil company PetroEcuador) but it would be another thing, and could endanger the funding and future the organization, if she had to testify under oath about what she and Amazon Watch knew about the fraud by Donziger when it was occurring, and what role, if any, she and Amazon Watch played in promoting the case for Donziger and using funds on his behalf.
Amazon Watch’s reputation would be completely destroyed and its funders would run for cover.