FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Trump Attorney Sues Greenpeace Over Dakota Access in $300 Million Racketeering Case

Energy Transfer Partners, owner of the Dakota Access pipeline, has filed a $300 million Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) lawsuit against Greenpeace and other environmental groups for their activism against the long-contested North Dakota-to-Illinois project.

In its 187-page complaint, Energy Transfer alleges that “putative not-for-profits and rogue eco-terrorist groups who employ patterns of criminal activity and campaigns of misinformation to target legitimate companies and industries with fabricated environmental claims and other purported misconduct” caused the company to lose “billions of dollars.”

In the case, Energy Transfer is represented by lawyers from the firm Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, one of the namesakes of which is Marc Kasowitz. Kasowitz is a member of the legal team representing President Donald Trump in the ongoing congressional and special counsel investigation of his 2016 presidential campaign’s alleged ties and potential collusion with Russian state actors. The press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit details that Kasowitz attorney Michael J. Bowe is leading what the firm describes as an ongoing probe into the environmental groups’ “campaign and practices.”

Trump Connections

Bowe, according to multiple press accounts, is serving as Kasowitz’s deputy in the ongoing Russia investigation. He also represents Resolute Forest Products and co-plaintiffs in its ongoing RICO lawsuit against Greenpeace, Stand.Earth, and other defendants involved in a corporate social responsibility campaign revolving around Resolute’s forest-originated products.

Bowe, furthermore, is an attorney-of-record in a $50 million defamation lawsuit filed against freelance journalist Yashar Ali by suspended Fox News anchor Eric Bolling. Ali published a freelance article commissioned by the HuffPost on August 4 in which multiple sources told Ali that Bolling had sent a litany of unsolicited lewd text messages to Fox News’ female employees.

Another attorney of record for the latest Greenpeace lawsuit, Jennifer Recine, formerly represented Trump “against the owners of one of the last large scale real estate development sites in Manhattan” and helped him win “the largest ever attachment in New York City history,” according to her biographical sketch on the Kasowitz Benson Torres website. Bowe also lists that detail on his Kasowitz biography.

According to a New York Times article published in June, Marc Kasowitz represented Trump during the Trump Organization’s financial travails in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and has served as his attorney in other recent matters. He even considered setting up an office in the White House, though he serves as Trump’s personal attorney and not White House legal counsel.

“Kasowitz has been central to Mr. Trump’s recent legal battles, helping his client keep divorce records sealed and representing him in the Trump University fraud lawsuit, in which Mr. Trump ultimately agreed to pay $25 million to settle claims from former students that the institution had cheated them out of tuition money,” reported The Times. “In the final weeks of the presidential campaign, Mr. Kasowitz threatened to sue The New York Times for libel on Mr. Trump’s behalf over a story in which two women accused Mr. Trump of inappropriate touching years earlier.”

Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren was a major campaign donor to President Trump, giving him over $100,000 in campaign contributions.

‘Meritless Lawsuit’

In its press release, the legal team for Energy Transfer Partners says that a website “will be established to catalog information and publish progress reports on the case and, when necessary, to set the record straight as the facts warrant.”

A similar website has been set up in the Resolute Forest Products case, resolutevgreenpeace.com. In a press release, Energy Transfer Partners accuses Greenpeace and other groups of “inducing and directing violent and destructive attacks.”

“The alleged Enterprise is comprised of rogue environmental groups and militant individuals who employ a pattern of criminal activity and a campaign of misinformation for purposes of increasing donations and advancing their political or business agendas,” Energy Transfer Partners says in its press release about the lawsuit. “In addition to its misinformation campaign, the Enterprise directly and indirectly funded eco-terrorists on the ground in North Dakota. These groups formed their own outlaw camp among peaceful protestors (sic) gathered near Lake Oahe, and exploited the peaceful activities of these groups to further the Enterprise’s corrupt agenda by inducing and directing violent and destructive attacks against law enforcement as well as Plaintiffs’ property and personnel.”

The “eco-terrorist” language mirrors that used by law enforcement and the public relations firms it and Energy Transfer Partners paid during the height of protests at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota. In response to a request for comment from DeSmog, Bowe said that the alleged RICO conspiracy had a global reach.

“The complaint alleges the manufacturing and aggressive worldwide dissemination of a completely phony narrative inconsistent with overwhelming and incontrovertible facts,” said Bowe. “We intend to successfully prosecute the case to its conclusion, vindicate this good company, and compensate it for the substantial harm it has suffered.”

Greenpeace, though, sees the lawsuit as an act of “bullying” and in the category of “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation,” or SLAPP.

This is the second consecutive year Donald Trump’s go-to attorneys at the Kasowitz law firm have filed a meritless lawsuit against Greenpeace,” Greenpeace USA General Counsel Tom Wetterer said in a press statement. “They are apparently trying to market themselves as corporate mercenaries willing to abuse the legal system to silence legitimate advocacy work. This has now become a pattern of harassment by corporate bullies, with Trump’s attorneys leading the way.”

More articles by:

Steve Horn is a freelance investigative journalist and Research Fellow at DeSmogBlog, where this piece first appeared.

December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Macdonald Stainsby
Unist’ot’en Camp is Under Threat in Northern Canada
Senator Tom Harkin
Questions for Vice-President Bush on Posada Carriles
W. T. Whitney
Two Years and Colombia’s Peace Agreement is in Shreds
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Ramzy Baroud
The Conspiracy Against Refugees
David Rosen
The Swamp Stinks: Trump & Washington’s Rot
Raouf Halaby
Wall-to-Wall Whitewashing
Daniel Falcone
Noam Chomsky Turns 90
Dean Baker
An Inverted Bond Yield Curve: Is a Recession Coming?
Nick Pemberton
The Case For Chuck Mertz (Not Noam Chomsky) as America’s Leading Intellectual
Ralph Nader
New Book about Ethics and Whistleblowing for Engineers Affects Us All!
Dan Kovalik
The Return of the Nicaraguan Contras, and the Rise of the Pro-Contra Left
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Exposing the Crimes of the CIAs Fair-Haired Boy, Paul Kagame, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front
Jasmine Aguilera
Lessons From South of the Border
Manuel García, Jr.
A Formula for U.S. Election Outcomes
Sam Pizzigati
Drug Company Execs Make Millions Misleading Cancer Patients. Here’s One Way to Stop Them
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Agriculture as Wrong Turn
James McEnteer
And That’s The Way It Is: Essential Journalism Books of 2018
Chris Gilbert
Biplav’s Communist Party of Nepal on the Move: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian
Judith Deutsch
Siloed Thinking, Climate, and Disposable People: COP 24 and Our Discontent
Jill Richardson
Republicans Don’t Want Your Vote to Count
John Feffer
‘Get Me Outta Here’: Trump Turns the G20 into the G19
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail