Friday, October 25, 2013

Chevron v Donzinger Trial: Twenty years of litigation. A $19 billion judgment. Sixty law firms and......

American Lawyer Reporter Michael Goldhaber
Overview of the case
"Chevron v. Donziger: A Dickensian Cheat Sheet"
Twenty years of litigation. A $19 billion judgment. Sixty law firms and 2000 legal professionals — and that's just on one side. Chevron in Ecuador can plausibly claim to be the messiest case since Jarndyce sued Jarndyce. "This scarecrow of a suit," as Dickens said in Bleak House, "has become so complicated that no man alive knows what it means." Fortunately, The American Lawyer has been clearing the thicket of Chevron's Amazon case from the start.

Michael Goldhaber's book on the case will be published this summer. More info to follow.

From the Wall Street Journal on Alberto Guerra testimony

A former Ecuadorean judge testified Wednesday that he was paid $1,000 a month to ghostwrite rulings and “expedite” proceedings in an environmental lawsuit against Chevron Corp. in Ecuador that ultimately resulted in a $19 billion judgment against the oil giant.

Wall Street Journal Story
Chevron v Donzinger
story link
Former Ecuadorian Judge Alberto Guerra on the stand during the Chevron vs Donzinger trial
Steven Donzinger seated far right,

Guerra testifies via an interpreter, ( woman standing on left)
Manhattan Federal Court, Judge Lewis Kaplan presiding
artwork by Elizabeth Williams

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Madoff Five" trial

The trial of the "Madoff 5": Daniel Bonventre, Annette Bongiorno, Joann Crupi, George Perez and Jerome O'Hara, began on October 8th, with jury selection lasting about a week. Opening statements followed then several witnesses including an FBI agent took the stand. Today Matthew Cohen a managing director of Alix Partners testified. Cohen is  a consultant who helped unravel the fraud after its discovery. 
Cohen  testified that Perez told him that  Madoff  in 2006 asked him   to alter core computer programs to permit changes to past account statements for his investment advisory unit.
More from Bloomberg story by Erik Larson

Matthew Cohen from Alix Partners on the stand
with diagram of Madoff's office  layout in the Lipstick Building on the computer screen

Defendants left to right, Joann Crupi, Daniel Bonventre, Jerome O'Hara( front row),
Annette Bongiorno, George Perez( front row)

The Five Things You Need to Know About the Madoff Trial 
Five former Madoff underlings — two account supervisors, two computer programmers, and a former operations director — are accused of working with Mr. Madoff and others to deceive investors and keep the Ponzi scheme afloat. The defendants — George Perez, Jerome O’Hara, JoAnn Crupi, Annette Bongiorno and Daniel Bonventre — say they were duped like everyone else and were mere pawns. All five have pleaded not guilty.

Monday, October 21, 2013

James Earl Ray Hearing Oct 21, 1974 questions over guilty plea remain

On Oct 21, 1974 in Memphis Tenn, James Earl Ray was granted a hearing to withdraw his guilty plea made on March 10, 1969. The New York Times article  below outlines the story. 
CBS Reporter Ed Rabel seated during James Earl Ray hearing in Memphis Tenn. James Earl Ray is seated far right.
By Aggie Kenny

The mystery around the guilt or innocence of Ray continues.

TruTV article:.

link from August 1978 Prescott Gazette

Ed Rabel reporter pictured above worked with Aggie Kenny during the hearing. Rabel  is now a 3rd party candidate for the US Senate in the state of West Virginia. He also has also published a book about his amazing life which includes his career as a journalist for both CBS and NBC News.

Newsman Rabel has new book  - News - The Charleston Gazette - West Virginia News and Sports -

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

'Captain Phillips' Movie Opens/ Epilogue Somali Pirate Arraignment and Sentencing

On October 11th the movie Captain Phillps opens in theaters. The movie is opening to rave reviews.
The story is about the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama tanker and kidnapping of Captain Richard Phillips;
 it is disturbing, shocking and amazing.
Below are events that are the epilogue to the story portrayed in the movie.

On April 21, 2009 the Somali pirate Abduhl Wal-i-Musi of Captain Phillips fame, was brought to Manhattan Federal Court under heavy security. The day before when  he was perp walked, he was all smiles, one of the local papers headlined a photo of him, titled it "Jolly Roger".
Lone surviving pirate in Federal court on Tuesday

However the next day once inside the courtroom, Muse broke down and cried.

During the arraignment the judge had trouble determining the age of the defendant and tried to reach out to his family in Africa, because it was unclear if he was to be charged as an adult. Upon mentioning his family, the Somali broke down.
That scene lasted just a few minutes, made the front page of the New York Post.
Eventually it was determined that he was 18 years old and was considered an adult, and faced a possible life sentence.
Somali Pirate Arraignment story

Somali Pirate Muse Arraignment by Elizabeth Williams

Months later-after he plead guilty- Abduhl Wal-i-Musi was sentenced 
in front of Chief Judge Loretta Preska. 
Prior to the hearing the 3rd mate Colin Wright was outside the courtroom and was clearly still very upset about what had occurred during the hijacking, and spoke during the hearing of being so helpless, with no way to protect themselves. 
From Bloomberg story:
Wright.....testified during today’s hearing that the incident permanently changed him and asked the judge to sentence Muse to the maximum penalty possible.
“It was a very, very scary experience,” said Wright, who detailed being shot at during the hijacking and listening to bullets ring off the bulkhead next to him.

During the sentencing hearing the judge gave a detailed report on the horrors and torture that occurred while Captain Phillips was kidnapped and held hostage for 4 days. It was a graphic and shocking.  During her account of the events, she wept, which is unusual for a judge.
Judge Loretta Preska

Abduhl Wal-i-Musi sentencing February 16, 2011 by Elizabeth Williams

Somali Pirate sentencing story link 

Muse was finally  sentenced to 33 years in prison and Captain Richard Phillips wrote a book that eventually became a movie; he is considered by many to be a modern day hero.

Michael Daly NY Daily News
After Maersk heroism, maybe Merchant Marine Memorial will be more than footnote

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Raymond Donovan Trial Opens, October 5th 1986

Donovan Jury,  March 1987 by Elizabeth Williams

27 Years ago From the New York Times:
October 5, 1986
Spectators in State Supreme Court in the Bronx last week heard a prosecutor at center stage describe Raymond J. Donovan, the former Secretary of Labor, as a participant in a larcenous scheme based on ''greed - plain and simple.'' Stage right, they heard defense counsel describe the case as a ''phantom'' and the 56-year-old defendant as a man who was orphaned in his teens, gave up studying for the priesthood to support five younger brothers and sisters, made good in the construction business and went on to do good by anonymously financing 60 minority students in a private high school.
Donovan wide shot by Aggie Kenny
Raymond Donovan far right, Ted Wells seated far left. Judge John Collins presiding
In the end Raymond Donovan was acquitted,
Donovan's famous quote
"Which office do I go to to get my reputation back " is well remembered,
The trial went on for many months had all sorts of snags, and twists.
Juror #4 went nuts during deliberations causing a possible mistrial.
Donovan juror story
The defendants ranged from Raymond Donovan, former Secretary of Labor under President Reagan to William Masselli a suspected associate of the Genovese Crime Family.
It was one of the longest criminal prosecutions in the Bronx and several  famous attorneys defending the case, Ted Wells and Raymond Brown have become super-stars in the legal field.

Interesting note regarding the illustrations, 
in the Kenny wide shot, the small figure in the back row, right, with green shirt and pony tail, is Elizabeth Williams, drawing the jury picture that is above.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Jury: AEG not liable in Jackson's death | Entertainment - WLKY Home

Jury: AEG not liable in Jackson's death | Entertainment - WLKY Home
From the LA Times
The jury foreman, Gregg Barden, said the five-month trial was exhausting and that the three days of deliberations were “extremely stressful.”
“We reached a verdict we understand that not everybody is going to agree with,” he said. “There are really no winners in this. Somebody had to die for us to be was really a tragic situation.”
Katherine Jackson  drawn during verdict by Bill Robles