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9 Sep 2020

Cara Salvatore, Law360

USA: Judge postpones Steven Donziger's criminal contempt trial after refusals from lawyers denouncing "travesty of justice"

"Donziger Trial Delayed After 3rd Atty Protests 'Travesty'", 4 September 2020.

U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska granted a delay Friday in the criminal contempt trial of Chevron foe Steven Donziger after last-minute changes in his legal team prompted one of the remaining members to protest that holding trial Sept. 9 would be a "travesty of justice."

The judge yielded to pressure that mounted over the course of the week to delay the trial, which concerns Donziger's refusal of court orders stemming from his longtime fight against Chevron over pollution in the Amazon.

On Wednesday, one of Donziger's lawyers, Andrew Frisch, urged Judge Preska to excuse him from the trial on the grounds that his relationship with Donziger was "beyond repair." A second lawyer, Martin Garbus, asked to be excused Thursday.

On Friday morning, a third lawyer, Lauren Regan, told Judge Preska she could not lead the trial either.

"That we find ourselves in this situation is deeply disturbing, especially given the court's view that it is largely the result of the machinations of Mr. Donziger and his legal team (not including Mr. Frisch)," Judge Preska said in her order. "Regrettable as it is, the court concludes that it must grant Mr. Frisch's motion [to withdraw] and postpone the upcoming trial."

Setting a new trial date for Nov. 3, Judge Preska seemed to suggest that she would allow Donziger to be represented by Ron Kuby, a New York defense lawyer who had said he could be prepared to represent Donziger by December...

Read more at: https://www.law360.com/articles/1307587?copied=1