Bloomberg does an admirably clear job in reporting on Chevron’s release of videos today that document a judicial bribery scheme in Ecuador. The videos involve the judge who will decide the lawsuit against the company purportedly filed on behalf of Amazonians claiming to have been injured by Texaco oil operations there in previous decades.
Included in the article, “Chevron Seeks Ecuador Judge’s Removal, Citing Bribery,” is a revealing bit of spin from the environmentalists/trial lawyers’ flack, Karen Hinton.
“We understand the seriousness of Chevron’s allegations” said Karen Hinton, a spokeswoman for the Amazon Defense Coalition, whose attorneys are representing Ecuadoreans suing Chevron. “An appropriate investigation will determine whether the allegations are true or if they are the product of a dirty tricks campaign designed and financed by the company.”
Here’s her whole statement, repeating the usual attack lines.
A litigant sincerely interested in justice would not be immediately slurring a party for bringing this information to light. But Hinton et al. have always been interested first in attacking Chevron’s reputation as part of a PR strategy designed to produce an out-of-court settlement. That’s why they try to turn the annual stockholders’ meeting into a PR circus — negative publicity. The more damage the trial lawyer/activist alliance can inflict on Chevron’s reputation (and stock), the greater the possibility of a settlement — or so they believe.
A reminder about connections: The contingency fee lawsuit against Chevron is being financed by the Philadelphia law firm of Kohn, Swift & Graf, P.C. The firm last year hired the lobbying firm of Ben Barnes to lobby Congress on Ecuador and the environment, and Hinton Communications lists among its clients The Ben Barnes Group.
Blogger Bob McCarty has lots more on Ms. Hinton’s modus operandi.