Film outtakes steal stage in Chevron Ecuador case

Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:00pm GMT

* Chevron subpoenas film clips, says they show misconduct

* Plaintiffs mull pressure tactics in documentary outtakes

* Amazon court seen ruling later this year in $27 bln case

(Note language in 8th paragraph)

By Hugh Bronstein

QUITO, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Outtakes from a documentary meant to help the cause of Ecuadorean farmers suing U.S. energy giant Chevron Corp could become a liability for their case as a decision nears in the environmental damages lawsuit.

The 2009 documentary film "Crude" was made with the cooperation of New York-based lawyer Steven Donziger, who has scaled back his role in representing the plaintiffs after outtakes from the film showed him in Ecuador discussing tactics to pressure a local judge into ruling in their favor.

At one point he muses about paying protesters to surround the courthouse in the Amazon town of Lago Agrio where the case is being heard. "There are almost no rules here," he says at another point. "This is how the game is played. It's dirty."

Chevron says the outtakes show enough misconduct by the plaintiffs to render any judgment against it illegitimate.   Continued...

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