Ecuador Internacional

Ghostwriting the Lago Agrio Judgment: The New Forensic Evidence

Letters Blogatory - Douglass Cassel 26/03/2015

The indefatigable Doug Cassel is back with a pro-Chevron look at Ecuador’s forensic evidence regarding the judgment ghostwriting allegation in the Lago Agrio case. It’s fair to say the evidence is equivocal—both sides have a case to make. here is Ecuador’s new brief addressing Chevron’s arguments: I hope to have an Ecuador advocate give Letters Blogatory readers a post about Ecuador’s position soon.

My basic perspective is this: perhaps the evidence that seems to suggest that Judge Zambrano actually wrote the judgment can be challenged; but the fact that there is such evidence gives me reason to think that he did write the judgment. Otherwise, we have to think that Judge Zambrano created false evidence at the time of the judgment to make it appear that he wrote the judgment. How can that be if, as Chevron suggests, Judge Zambrano is a chucklehead? I don’t believe he could have been that devious. I am also influenced by the presumption of regularity, which I do not think we can discard in this case without making the argument profoundly circular. And as long-time readers know, I found Judge Guerra’s testimony deeply unconvincing.

A Courthouse News reporter recently penned a purported bombshell: according to a leaked brief written by Ecuador’s lawyers in its international arbitration with Chevron, Ecuador’s computer expert found no evidence in Judge Nicolas Zambrano’s computers that the Lago Agrio judgment was ghostwritten. Instead, the expert claimed, a file containing the judgment was created in a Zambrano computer and then saved and edited hundreds of times. Contrary to the findings of US federal Judge Lewis Kaplan in Chevron’s suit against Lago Agrio lawyer Steven Donziger, Ecuador’s expert supposedly confirmed that the computer evidence was “consistent” with Zambrano having written the judgment.

The story was shaky from the start. The Courthouse News reporter had not seen the actual report by Ecuador’s expert, J. Christopher Racich. The story quoted only from an unredacted copy of a brief written by Ecuador’s lawyers, to which the story linked. Even though a computer amateur can easily ascertain from the metadata that the “author” of the linked copy is “Karen Hinton”—Donziger’s PR person—the reporter did not let on that his source was an interested party (although he did disclose the admission by his source that the leaked document came from the office of Ecuador’s Attorney General).

To read the complete article, please follow the link.

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