National Academy of Sciences appointee caught "making up stuff" to win lawsuit, RICO lawsuit follows

Watch the video below, it is quite something. Amazing that they were stupid enough to tape themselves saying this much less turn it into a documentary!

UPDATE: The legal pleading has been added, link below, quite a read.


Excerpt From Wizbang: Environmental Scientist Caught Agreeing To Ignore Her Own Data, Make Up New Claims

Dr. Ann Maest is a managing scientist at Straus Consulting, and she’s the go to expert on all things groundwater. In the press release announcing her reappointment to the National Academy of Sciences, they mention that she is focused on the environmental effects of mining and petroleum extraction and production, and, more recently, on the effects of climate change on water quality.

Maest is in high demand as an expert for those looking to stop oil and mineral exploration. She’s also heavily used by the federal government, even though after new details about her past work are coming to light as a result of a lawsuit. From The New York Times:

An environmental consulting firm named as a defendant in a racketeering suit filed by Chevron Corp. over a landmark pollution lawsuit in Ecuador is continuing to work on another blockbuster case: the Deepwater Horizon oil spill investigation.

Boulder, Colo.-based Stratus Consulting, a long-term contractor with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other federal agencies, is gathering and analyzing data concerning the Gulf of Mexico spill.

Chevron is suing those behind the Ecuadorian case including: the lead attorney Steven Donziger; Stratus Consulting; and Maest. As part of their lawsuit, Chevron obtained through discovery, outtakes from a documentary called “Crude” that show Donziger and Maest colluding ignore their own findings and make up some new unsubstantiated claims. Watch this:

from the YouTube description:

The following is an outtake from Joe Berlinger’s movie Crude. At the March 4, 2007, lunch meeting between plaintiffs’ lead U.S. lawyer Steven Donziger and plaintiffs’ U.S. consultants Charles Champ, Ann Maest and Richard Kamp, they reveal the truth about plaintiffs’ lack of evidence and their intent to manipulate the Ecuadorian court. Maest tells Donziger that they need evidence of groundwater contamination, because plaintiffs did not submit any. Maest admits that, “Right now all the reports are saying it’s just at the pits and the stations, and nothing has spread anywhere at all.” Donziger responds, “Hold on a second, you know, this is Ecuador. … You can say whatever you want, and at the end of the day, there’s a thousand people around the courthouse. You’re going to get what you want. Sorry, but it’s true.” Donziger continues, “Because at the end of the day, this is all for the court just a bunch of smoke and mirrors and bulls**t. It really is. We have enough, to get money, to win.” View more outtakes at For more information about the Ecuador lawsuit, visit

Read the whole thing at Wizbang: Environmental Scientist Caught Agreeing To Ignore Her Own Data, Make Up New Claims

Here’s the legal pleading, quite a read h/t to Steve


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The lives and times of an environmental scientist…………

David Larsen

I better learn more real math like statistics so I can get government hand outs too!

Tom G(ologist)

I am a testifying expert on groundwater, groundwater contamination, fate and transport of organic chemicals in groudnwater, and I work extensively for the extractive industries and I have NEVER had an attorney make such statements to me, even when there were NO cameras around. As the President of a State Licensing Board for Geologists I can’t afford to even think about such things so to me, this is just unthinkable.

Richard S Courtney

Oh, wait. These are environmentalist consultants, so what they are saying is ‘all-in-a-day’s work’.
Of course it is “believable”. Silly me for thinking otherwise.

Fred Allen

Seems to be standard fare for so many (environmental) scientists. Like many consultants for business and government, the first step seems to be to find out where the money lies. Step two is to determine what conclusion the business owners/department heads want. Step three, determine the conclusion that will most likely loosen the purse strings. Step four; make the science fit the conclusion.


Somehow this reminds me of those kids who beat someone to a pulp in a subway station, film it on their own cell phone and promptly post it to YouTube.


Post Normal Science?


There’s that word again, ‘extrapolate’. Shameful and criminal.

Ursus Augustus

I am an engineer who does legal expert witness work from time to time and while I have never seen or heard of such blatant collusion between counsel and expert I have unfortunately read a lot of so called evidence that is clearly concocted to suit the narrative of the engaging party. Typically such evidence omits logical reasoning and proper reference to data relying on bald opinion to sketch out a suitable narrative or at least support the team.
It seems to me that scientists and engineers and other technical professions need specific training in the basics of giving evidence, their relationship to the court in question and keeping a proper distance between their commercial self interest and the objectivity of their evidence.
That said, this matter about takes the cake.


More of a political scientists than an actual one.


That whole lawsuit just reeks. It’s lawyers and lobbyists all the way down. Even the “Amazon Defense Coalition”, nominally the plaintiff, is just an astroturf front for a Washington lobbying company called Hinton Communications. The plaintiffs lawyers actually wrote what was purported to be an independent engineer’s technical assessment, and paid him to sign it. The address of the “laboratory” that did the water analysis turned out to be an apartment block. And on and on.
There really is serious ongoing pollution in the area, caused by PetroEcuador, the state oil company, and whatever happens with the Chevron suit isn’t going to have any effect on that.


I was an expert witness once. The barrister who briefed me started off by saying “You mustn’t dream of acting like an American expert witness”. Sad but true.

The science is settled! Haven’t you received the message? hee hee


If anyone here was wonder why the XL pipeline was delayed – then venture no further. These are the kind of people the Obama administration have covering the fat butts. And paid FOR by US taxpaers to stop American growth and job creation strictly to appease the eco-Nazis wing of Obama’s democrats.


More evidence Global Warming is false.


I’m sorry, but we need to see the NEXT minute. We need to see her response to his bafflegab, or transcripts of testimony, or other corroborating details that indicate that she bought into this.
It’s clearly crap, but we need a little more detail to see who willingly stepped in it.

Like Tom G, I am simply flaberghasted that a lawyer would make such a comment, especially on camera. I’m not surprised by the lack of moral outrage by the activists though.

Fred from Canuckistan

wow . . with that kind of “honesty” they would be able to hide many declines.

“When there’s a Higher Purpose things like honesty take the back seat”. Was it Pol Pot saying that?


Videos like these expose the amateurs and give me some respect for organized criminals.


“I’m sorry, but we need to see the NEXT minute.”
“Crude” is available on Netflix streaming. See if the next minute is shown.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

Jeremy said on December 13, 2011 at 2:42 pm:

Videos like these expose the amateurs and give me some respect for organized criminals.

You respect career politicians loyal to their political “family”?


Wow! I started in Environmental Studies, went to grad school in Geology, and ended up working for big oil. I guess I’m someone who almost ended up a street thug but got my life straightened out.

Dr Burns

Is this for real ? How was the movie taken or is it being played by actors ?


The high moral ground is a land where, clearly, ethics don’t grow anymore. Maybe there’s been a climate change.

Ben U.

One sees Ann Maest nodding her head and saying things like “uh-huh,” which might merely mean “I hear you,” so it’s not quite a clincher as to her guilt. The question is then, did she actually end up doing as Steven Donziger suggested? That question should be answerable.

Leon Brozyna

I went to Wizbang and watched a second video they’ve got posted, where Maest is right in the thick of things when the discussion of damages pumps up to $30-50 billion. (Yes, that’s with a “B”).
You just know that these videos will never die and will forever come back to haunt Straus Consulting and especially the good Dr. Ann Maest. Try getting on the stand in any future cases as an “expert” witness … they will follow her for the rest of her career.
The environmental sciences ain’t looking too good lately … Climategate 1 & 2, and now this. What’s shocking isn’t the ethical state of the science … it’s that the whole business is being conducted in such a seemingly casually professional manner.

Theo Goodwin

JEM says:
December 13, 2011 at 2:30 pm
“I’m sorry, but we need to see the NEXT minute. We need to see her response to his bafflegab, or transcripts of testimony, or other corroborating details that indicate that she bought into this.”
We are not going to establish guilt or innocence here. Everyone knows that.


Yep! Boulder Colorado. Now why does that small town keep coming up over and over and over again whenever you get even close to a topic related to climate, anthropogenic global warming, north pole, south pole, on and on… must be billions of tax dollar bilked there.

Ben U. says:
December 13, 2011 at 3:16 pm
One sees Ann Maest nodding her head and saying things like “uh-huh,” which might merely mean “I hear you,” so it’s not quite a clincher as to her guilt. The question is then, did she actually end up doing as Steven Donziger suggested? That question should be answerable.
Go to the link provided, there is a second video in which she participates in the conversation. I don’t know the particulars of her testimony, but if Chevron is pursuing this under RICO….. I’d say it’s pretty damning.
OTOH, I’m no attorney, so perhaps we can get one to comment, but, I thought RICO was exclusively a criminal law and not civil. In other words, if RICO applies, it should be our justice lawyers pursuing this, with significant jail time as a consideration.
What are the objections about our Keystone pipeline, again?


In Maest’s defense, we never see any indication, in this clip, at least that she agrees with the attorney’s strategy. And as an environmenal consultant myself, I have seen attorney’s suggest such ill-advised strategies and seen the experts (myself included) say no, that is going a bridge too far. And this would be both plaintiff’s attorney’s and attorney’s representing industry. Doesn’t mean she didn’t do something wrong, but the only thing this video show is an overzealous, money-grubbing, plaintiff’s attorney.

jack morrow

A lot of our congressmen and women are worse and have been that way since George Washington’s days. If he were here, he could tell us where the congressional money went that he was waiting on for supplies at Valley Forge.


Disgusting, just disgusting.

here is the entire complaint against these people. Maest is listed as a defendant along with Strauss Consulting. I skipped around in the doc, and it looked like some people (other experts) ran away from this whole thing…telling Donzinger that they didn’t want anything to do with his suit. I think those would be the good guys. Looks like Maest et al. stayed with him to the bitter end.
I think this is an egregious case…but important to remember that many people will be more than happy to lie for a large sum of money. And yes, that includes climate scientists, Solyndra, Pigford, and innumerable other people…the more the deeper the pockets, the more the liars are attracted

We are fighting the same sort of battle against corruption. A lot more will be made public in coming months.

William McClenney

bill says:
December 13, 2011 at 3:11 pm
I am convinced that you are correct. And Tom G you as well. I too have done considerable expert witness testimony and litigation support on environmental issues. In a recent article here on WUWT (I think) there was a discussion on when political activism in the sciences began (the 1970’s, when I was in uni.) and I have watched it unfold in horror ever since. I believe that was the climate change of which you speak.
I have had to withdraw from several cases where the direction turned to what I have come to term as “flexible ethics”, or the ends justifying the means, by advising the attorneys that I was “not their man”. I have also been requested to provide the names of those who could serve their interests better, because I know far too many of them.
The pursuit of truth and knowledge is, as it was before the Renaissance (or thereabouts), now perceived to be secondary as regards the satisfaction of ego (call it whatever else you wish, but it almost always boils down to this). Whether that be Ptolemy vs. Galileo (then, as mediated by the Catholic Church) or the case in question here.
Perhaps this anthropogenic “climate change” is also cyclical. It may have cycles of different durations as well. Consider that Homo habilis is credited with first use of stone tools 2.8 MYA. It took about another 1 MY to add a second cutting edge setting off the Acheulian period. One wonders the many discussions that took place along that long pathway.
One such anthropogenic “climate change” cycle appears evident in the hominid fossil record:
“An examination of the fossil record indicates that the key junctures in hominin evolution reported nowadays at 2.6, 1.8 and 1 Ma coincide with 400 kyr eccentricity maxima, which suggests that periods with enhanced speciation and extinction events coincided with periods of maximum climate variability on high moisture levels.”
As we are at an eccentricity minimum now, we are about 200kyrs away for our next possible hardware upgrade. When I see things like this, which seem an almost everyday occurrence now, I sincerely wonder if we will make it.

Theo Goodwin

JEM says:
December 13, 2011 at 2:30 pm
“I’m sorry, but we need to see the NEXT minute. We need to see her response to his bafflegab, or transcripts of testimony, or other corroborating details that indicate that she bought into this.”
Oops! I went to Wizbang and there is video of her agreeing with Donziger. In my experience, genuine lawyers do not do the sort of thing Donziger is doing on video. When discussing things that stink they never refer to the stink or its causes. If I had been in the lady’s shoes, I would have suspected that he was leading me on and not for a good reason.


@Ben U.
For sure one needs to know happened after these clips, what data actually was submitted and what claims were actually made etc.
But I disagree that Maest does not show complicity in wrongdoing in these brief vids, unless reversed or contradicted by later behavior and evidence. The ONLY correct response to a lawyer (or anyone) telling you how you can fake the data and the case is immediate outrage, and some version of a declaration that “as scientist and an ethical person I can never do what you are suggesting!”
Furthermore, Doniger needed to be taken to task immediately for his expressed willingness to ignore and subvert actual scientific data. There should be a serious case against him in terms of legal/bar ethics and professional responsibility, not to mention possible criminal liability.
But for Maest, she sure seemed to me like she was acquiescing not objecting. One has to compare with what was done later, but certainly serious legal ethics violations and criminal malfeasance (by the plaintiff team) has been asserted by Chevron/Texaco since those videos were made. Enough was shown to tell me anyway that Maest and Doniger should never be trusted in professional capacities by anyone who was not also dishonest.

Wow! It’s hard enough to believe they’d talk like this OFF camera.
It’s “Gradient”. ‘course you’ll need another million buck grant to use that word. Until then I’d stick to “that slopey thing the ground does”.

John West

This is a bit OT, but, it is about scientific ethics:
I noted RC rambling on about AGU 2011, so I check it out on the web. I see Peter Gleick is chairman of an ethics task force, I know he’s one of those “denier” guys but that’s about it, so I google him and find an article he wrote on huffpo ( ) where he absolutely berates some activists: [bold mine] “Equally egregious, Park Service employees withheld or selectively excluded scientific evidence that they knew contradicted their claims, even after requests by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and external scientists seeking to independently review their claims.” and then concludes ” Indeed, the Frost Report itself is evidence that scientific misconduct will be excused, whitewashed, minimized, and swept under the rug – already the Report is being used by some to claim victory on a policy battlefield where the real loser is the integrity of science.”, so I’m thinking why can’t he see these same activities among climate scientists. So I e-mail search for Gleick and sure enough e-mail # 0838 ( ) there he is colluding with the team to withhold information from McIntyre, an external scientists seeking to independently review their claims. He says: “ Yes, excellent point. This should be what we do. Further, we can point out that we’ve bent over backward here and provided more than typically necessary in order to satisfy persistent but inappropriate demands.” in reply to Linda Mearns saying “ My point about the code is still that ‘providing the code’ can be interpreted alot of ways. I have thought about this, and imagined if in one of my larger and more complex projects, I was asked to provide all code. I could do that just by sending the pieces with a summary file explaining what each piece was used for. It still theoretically allows someone to see how coding was done. And I do think that is a far sight easier than providing stuff that can be run, etc. I am suggesting that one could do the minimum. Then the point is, one isn’t faced with garish headlines about ‘refusal to provide code’. I think it is harder to come up with a garish headline about ‘refusal to provide completely documented
code with appropriate readme files and handholding for running it’.

This is scientific ethics? Hypocrisy at it’s finest.
BTW: AGU 2011:
Ethics Task Force page 12. John Cook is on page 20, a panel on Communicating Science (LOL)

But hold on a minute. Surely taking a bit of data that supports your argument and smearing over a much larger area is accepted practice in climate science? If a top science publication accepts this practice who are we lesser mortals to disagree.


In a perfect world, we would eventually see Maest, [snip] and scores of other enviro-terrorists in adjoining cells. But, alas, it is probably not to be…

John M

Come on now.
Just another day’s work in support of “The Cause”.


James Sexton,
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. The RICO Act focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows for the leaders of a syndicate to be tried for the crimes which they ordered others to do or assisted them, closing a perceived loophole that allowed someone who told a man to, for example, murder, to be exempt from the trial because they did not actually do it.

My apologies for citing wikipedia, but they are correct in this instance.
I am currently a plaintiff in a RICO suit. I assure you there are many such civil cases.


Do we really need the next minute? Did she quit working with the attorney who is making things up? Did she testify? What did she say? These are more important than trying to interpret what “uh huh” means, no??

D. King

Reminds me of the Economics Prof at UW Madison in the early 70’s who came back from giving congressional testimony in DC yuking it up because they had misled congress about the economic impacts of an oil spill in Texas. I remember it as Galveston Bay, but could be wrong.
It seems that when asked if there measurable economic impacts due to the spill they had honestly answered “Yes, quite significant in fact” but intentionally failed to mention that the measurable impacts were, after a short recovery period, positive. Apparently once the initial toxicity dropped off all those hydrocarbons acted as fertilizer and increased productivity.
The man was lying by omission and laughing about it, was a real eye-opener for me.

One of the few places where rats swim toward a sinking ship !!!

Much as I’d love to see every Carbon Cultist gone from the earth, I’m suspicious of that video. The woman’s voice is entirely too clear and loud compared to the others, and the lip-syncing is less than perfect. Sounds like the audio equivalent of a Photoshop job to me, and I do know a few things about waveform editing.

charles nelson

It’s OK to lie if the ’cause’ is right.
Let’s hope the Judge puts them straight on their erroneous thinking…and then puts them straight in the Penn State…ooops sorry silly me ‘the State Pen.’