People protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline march past San Francisco City Hall, 15 November 2016. Photo: Pax Ahimsa Gethen

By Steve Horn
22 August 2017

(Desmog) – 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.”

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. […]

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]

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

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