Update: Here is Rivero’s side of the story, in affidavit form. According to Rivero’s testimony, he phoned Zambrano in January 2013 and told him that he (Rivero) had spoken to Guerra, who had “revealed the truth about the Lago Agrio litigation.” He told Zambrano that “the truth of the case would be revealed in the coming week” and enouraged Zambrano to speak with him. Zambrano asked Rivero to call him back, but Zambrano never picked up the phone when Rivero tried. Zambrano acknowledges that the tape of the call is probably authentic, because it uses phrases he recalls using, but he says that he has “never asked any witness—including any current or former judge or other public official—to provide false or inaccurate testimony,” and that he has “never offered or promise any witness money in exchange for testimony.” It seems to me that he doesn’t deny pressuring Zambrano to talk, but I’m not sure that pressuring him to talk by using the impending Guerra revelations was improper. In any event, let’s see some declarations from Zambrano, or the tape of the call, so that folks can make a judgment!
A recent article in El Telégrafo, an Ecuadoran newspaper, has published a teaser of an article relating to the judicial corruption claims that Chevron has made in the case. The article accuses Kroll, a US firm, of employing three Americans, Andrés Rivero, Sam Anson, and Yohir Akerman, to intimidate potential witnesses, including Judge Zambrano, into helping Chevron. I call the article a teaser because it hints that there is some evidence to back up the story but it doesn’t give the evidence. According to the article, the plaintiffs have an audiotape of an intimidating telephone call from Rivero to Zambrano, but the tapes are to be gradually released. It’s not clear why this delay makes sense from the plaintiffs’ perspective. But if the plaintiffs are suggesting that Chevron is surreptitiously bribing or coercing judges to provide Chevron with helpful testimony, it will be interesting to see if they have the evidence to back it up.