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Circuit Finds 'Crude' Filmmaker Lacked Independence [USA]

Independence is the key factor in determining whether journalists can invoke a qualified evidentiary privilege for the information they have gathered. That point was emphasized yesterday as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit explained why it upheld a judge's order that filmmaker Joseph Berlinger turn over footage from "Crude," a documentary about the multi-billion dollar litigation over oil company pollution in Ecuador. In 2010, Southern District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ordered production of the outtakes…Chevron, defending itself against charges that its predecessor Texaco caused massive environmental damage in Ecuador,…requested the footage to show that [plaintiff’s attorney Steven] Donziger was attempting to corrupt Ecuador's judicial system in an attempt win a $27 billion award.

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