We don’t want to minimize the importance of the case, but it’s hard to avoid boxing metaphors when describing the back-and-forth of Chevron Corp.‘s oil pollution trial in Ecuador.

A week ago Chevron was raising its arms in triumph after the presiding judge, Juan Nuñez, recused himself. Though the judge claimed he’d done nothing wrong, he acted days after Chevron posted a secretly recorded video to its Web site in which Nuñez seemed to acknowledge he already decided to rule against the company even though the trial hadn’t ended. A second recording allegedly showed a member of the country’s ruling party soliciting bribes in exchange for remediation contracts to be awarded after the verdict.

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