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Chevron Subpoena for Documents Rejected by Judge

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U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins rejected the efforts by Chevron Group to secure documents related to a California environmental advocacy group in a fraud case, according to Reuters. The case is related to a $19 billion award for pollution in the rainforest in Ecuador.

The subpoena filed by Chevron Group was defeated by Cousins on Wednesday. The subpoena asked for a deposition and documents from Amazon Watch, which is the toughest critic of the company.

The subpoena filed is in relation to a case that is scheduled to hit trial on October 15. The case involves Chevron accusing residents of Ecuador, their lawyers and advisers of fraud. The company claims that they received a multi-billion dollar award from a local court.

“I must err on the side of protecting the First Amendment activity,” he said in his ruling in San Francisco federal court.

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The lawyer for Chevron, Ethan Dettmer, said that both sides are trying to meet the deadline for discovery on May 31. The judgment issued against Chevron came in February of 2011 by an Ecuadorean court in Lago Agrio.

The Ecuadoreans and their legal adviser, Steven Donziger, were sued by Chevron in Manhattan court. They are being sued for illegally pressuring the Ecuadorean court to issue a judgment in their favor, making racketeering claims, and making fraud claims under the U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

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