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Unicorn Riot DAPL Legal Defense Fund

Energy Transfer/DAPL is continuing their quest to get the Minnesota District Courts to order Unicorn Riot (UR) to give up newsgathering materials from our coverage of the resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. [September 16, 2022 Update]

After a year of silence from the corporation, Energy Transfer filed a  Motion to Compel UR and Niko Georgiades (UR journalist) to Comply with Subpoenas Duces Tecum on June 24, 2022. Last week on September 7, UR's counsel filed a Memorandum in Opposition to Compel Compliance and asked the court to quash the subpoenas against Unicorn Riot (and Georgiades). Energy Transfer filed another brief on September 14 arguing to enforce the subpoena.

An upcoming court hearing is scheduled on September 21, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. central time to allow Energy Transfer/DAPL to "move the Court" for an order to compel UR to give DAPL our documents.

Information to attend via Zoom can be found below. The hearing is also open to public attendance in person. 

(Court record with Zoom link and login information.)

Thanks to your support, UR has been able to retain legal counsel to help us protect the integrity of our reporting. If you want to contribute to the ongoing costs of our legal needs, consider supporting us with a one-time donation or as a monthly recurring supporter. Thanks!

Background: Unicorn Riot and journalist member Niko Georgiades were served subpoenas in March 2021 as part of Energy Transfer/DAPL's lawsuit (filed in North Dakota state court)  against Greenpeace and Indigenous water protectors, claiming they protested the pipeline for financial gain and not due to the potential environmental damage/harm to treaty rights. (See our original posting below for more information and these two articles: Pipeline Company Issues Broad Subpoena to News Site that Covered Protests Against It and CPJ calls on Energy Transfer to drop subpoenas to Unicorn Riot, journalist Niko Georgiades.)



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Unicorn Riot is facing a subpoena for all of its documents collected during our reporting on the NoDAPL protests. Energy Transfer LP, the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), is currently suing indigenous activists and others associated with the NoDAPL protests, and is taking legal steps to attempt to force us to give them our footage and documents. Unicorn Riot takes seriously our obligation to protect our sources and will not bend to requests for our footage and records from either the government or private corporations.


However, we have to act quickly to respond to the subpoena and are raising $4,000 for our legal defense. Unicorn Riot was served a copy of the subpoena on March 17 of this month. We are working to secure a First Amendment lawyer and expect to pay retainers for their work. We can’t predict the true cost of our legal bills but are committed to fully fighting the subpoena.  


As a viewer supported media organization, Unicorn Riot works hard to deliver independent media to the world on dynamic social and environmental issues. But we need your support to make sure that our organization remains safe while a giant oil corporation is coming after us because of our work.


We are committed to bringing you hard hitting journalism and will not bow to attempts to intimidate or interfere with our reporting. Thanks for your support.