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Labour-Rights Lawyer Paid Witnesses And Lied About It, Judge Says

Author: Daniel Fisher, Forbes (USA), Published on: 15 December 2015

The judge hearing [Drummond’s] defamation suit against an international labor-rights activist has issued a blistering ruling against the lawyer, accusing him of repeatedly lying about making payments to witnesses and possibly assisting them in committing perjury.  Collingsworth [sued] Drummond Coal over allegations the company collaborated with right-wing paramilitary officers to kill union officials…Those suits have all been dismissed, but Drummond fired back by suing Collingsworth for defamation.  The firm also accuses Dutch Oil company Llanos Oil in a separate suit of aiding in the conspiracy by paying one of the witnesses in Collingsworth’s case…U.S. District Judge…said he will allow Drummond to pierce the attorney-client privilege Collingsworth has used…[The judge] said there was ample evidence Collingsworth…had misled the court about their payments to witnesses…One of the most startling revelations to come out of the documents so far is that…one of the owners of Llanos Oil, paid a onetime Drummond contractor...right before [he] changed his testimony to implicate Drummond executives in the killing of two union officials…[T]he judge certified his order for an interlocutory appeal.  Collingsworth…said his lawyers will appeal this week…If the judge’s order stands, Drummond’s lawyers will issue more sweeping demands for communications between plaintiff lawyers and the witnesses…

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