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Steven Donziger says Chevron lawyer working for NY Times is 'conflict of interest'

Steven Donziger, the human rights attorney locked in a decades-long legal battle with Chevron, argued that one reason The New York Times may not be covering his case is because one of its First Amendment lawyers has also represented the gas and oil giant in legal matters. 

In an interview on Hill.TV’s “Rising,” Donziger, who is currently under house arrest on a contempt of court charge in his appeal of a racketeering case brought against him by Chevron, said that attorney Ted Boutrous Jr. “launders his reputation” as a First Amendment lawyer for the Times “so he can do the dirty work of the big oil companies like Chevron.” 

“One explanation I have as to why the New York Times is ignoring this critically important story of this corporate attack on a human rights lawyer is that its main outside lawyer is the lawyer who’s being paid by Chevron to attack me, and the New York Times needs to come clean,” he argued. 

“This is a major, major conflict of interest,” Donziger added. 

The human rights attorney has argued that Chevron’s lawsuit against him came in retaliation for his $9.5 billion legal win in his own suit against the company on behalf of more than Ecuadorian farmers and indigenous people affected by the contamination from the company's oil drilling.

Danielle Rhoades Ha, vice president for communications at the Times, told The Hill in response to Donziger's claim that the "business-side of the company has zero influence in our news coverage." 

"It is absurd to suggest that outside legal counsel would have any influence on what editors decide to cover," she added. 

Watch part of Donziger’s interview above.